Category Archives: Epistemology

More on the Self and the Fallacy of “Existence Exists”

Let’s take a chair.

Is the chair able to exist…as a chair?

No?

But if it is unable to exist, then how does the chair manifest its existence…how can it BE a chair if it’s not able to be a chair?

Let’s say that Ability is not considered  wrt to the suggested metaphysical primary, Existence. Then “chair” is simply a manifestation of existence qua existence…it cannot be distinctly known as “chair”. You see, if the chair doesn’t have any inherent ability to BE a chair then it isn’t actively a chair…it doesn’t act–it doesn’t DO–as a chair, and so how can it be said to be a chair? What’s the difference between the existence of “chair” and existence of, say, “tree”? It doesn’t ACT as a chair, so what exactly makes it a chair? All of the things that make it chair must be relative to the things that make a tree a tree? But the tree doesn’t act as tree, and the chair doesn’t act as chair–because they possesses no inherent, underlying Ability–and so by what means can we qualify or quantify the distinctions? Chair is chair and tree is tree, and neither act and thus there is no relative distinction between the two..because relativity (relative distinction) requires action requires the ability to act, and they possess no ability. They only possess existence. But then what is the difference between the existence of tree and existence of chair?

There is none.

There is no ability and thus no action, and thus no relative distinction.  Any distinction would be absolute. But there is no such thing as absolute distinction because absolute distinction is infinite distinction; and infinite distinction precludes co-existence.

And this is why Existence as the metaphysical primary wrecks ALL distinctions between its supposed particulars. There is no tree and no chair; there is only existence. There is no ability to exist and thus no action of existence and thus no relativity of the objects which are said to exist and thus no way to make distinctions of the particulars of existence and thus no way to define the particulars of existence (e.g. chair as opposed to tree) and thus no way to claim that any of the particulars of existence exist and thus no way to claim that existence exists.

But if we say the chair has the ability to exist then we make existence AS CHAIR an action…something the chair does. It is doing as a function of its ability to do. And all doing is relative. There is no action that is not relative, because a single object cannot move in a vacuum. (In a vacuum, there is literally no difference between position A and B of a given object, whether in time or space.) And so if being is action and action is relative then those extant properties which make a tree a tree and a chair a chair are, in fact, a manifestation of their ability to act (as chair or tree) and thus are likewise relative. And relative distinctions do not make a chair a chair and a tree a tree except that they be by conceptualized. Relative distinctions are not absolute, by definition. They require an observer. They require conceptualization via a constant…a reference. And that reference is Self. Is “I”.

And so the Ability (to “exist”…e.g. as chair) which drives the action (of “existence”…e.g. being a chair) demands the relativity (of “existence”…e.g. of chair) which demands conceptualization (of “existence”…e.g. the sentient observation of the chair) which demands a constant–a reference (for the “existence”…e.g. of the chair) and that reference is “I”.

That reference is what I mean by the Self.

Metaphysics: Ability-Action-Relativity-Conceptualization-Constant

How Exactly Does Existence Imply a Plurality of Itself?: More Problems with Objectivism

Objectivism asserts a reality distinct from the observer…the observer being, of course, “he who observes”.  Now, understand that when we speak of observation we necessarily imply cognition; and I prefer this term to “consciousness”, since “consciousness” has become rationally opaque and is used by objectivism and other philosophies as a synonym for what is fundamentally subjective. Also, “cognition” is less cumbersome, anyway.  It merely means an observer conceptualizing the distinction between himself and what he observes.  Which is the foundation of language, and therefore gets to the very heart and root of real truth.

But cognition is not simply a biological or physiological process…so we need to be careful here.  It CAN BE a rational synonym for “consciousness”, I submit, because it implies a necessary awareness of the distinction between one’s Self, as the Observer (the frame of reference for knowledge), and that which is observed.  In other words, cognition does not necessarily imply the neurological, but rather the active and efficacious and relevancy-giving conscious awareness of the neurological (so to speak…meaning, awareness that “neurological” is a thing in the first place…a truth which can be applied to a purpose specifically and necessarily determined by the observer).

So objectivism assert this distinction between “objective reality” and the observer…by which it means a distinction between “objective reality” and cognition.  Now, this distinction is alone enough to discredit objectivism as any kind of rational school of thought, since absent the observer’s ability to define this reality from his own existential frame of reference via cognition, he cannot claim that it exists at all…as objectively real or otherwise. In which case you cannot make any philosophical claims about it whatsoever.  I mean, if “objective reality” is objectively real, and the observer’s position in it is not mutually exclusive of it, then the observer must also be objectively real.  Which means that the tool by which he interprets and defines it, that is, his cognition–his own conscious and singular frame of reference–must also be objectively real.  So…how can one’s consciousness/cognition be divorced from objective reality?

It can’t.

So…there is no “objective reality” outside of consciousness.  Which means that once you are no longer existentially conscious (alive), then you have no frame of reference for objective reality, which means it has no relevancy to you, which means it has no truth to you, where “you” is an absolute context, which means that it cannot be said to exist.  It cannot be said to be anything. Which means that beyond your consciousness you cannot claim a reality which continues, outside of you.

As soon as you attempt to divorce consciousness/cognition from objective reality, you’re done.  You’ve created a contradiction which collapses the whole philosophy.

Nevertheless, let’s continue, because there is another problem–albeit closely related–with objectivism which bears explication.

There can be no distinction between reality and the observer because the observer has no frame of reference for such a reality; and this  because he has no frame of reference for for anything outside of that by which he knows (and therefore can claim) anything–his absolute SELF.  And himSELF, is “he who observes”.

Because he cannot step outside of his own observation, he cannot claim that there is anything outside of that observation.  Whatever is outside of his powers of observation cannot be defined, and therefore he cannot claim that they exist outside of himself.  For “himself” and his observation are entirely corollary.  There is no reality outside himself because it is only by himself, and absolutely so, as the observer that he can make any truth claim, of which “reality” is perhaps preeminent.  It is like claiming that I know what it’s like to be a cup of coffee…that is, because I can “be” a cup of coffee outside of myself, I can claim that “here is coffee”, and “there is me”, from TWO completely distinct frames of reference.  But this is impossible since my SELF as the observer is utterly singular.  The cup of coffee “outside” of me only exists as such because I OBSERVE it and define it and give it truth as a function of ME–my absolute frame of reference as the (conscious/cognitive) observer. Without me, there is no frame of reference for that cup of coffee; in which case, I have no definition for coffee that is “real”, “outside of me”.  That is, since I am not a cup of coffee, I can only ever define a cup of coffee as it pertains, absolutely and categorically, to me from my absolute frame of reference as the observer. The distinction, then, between “me” and “cup of coffee”, is entirely a function of MY singular ability to conceptualize the distinction.  Without that ability, that is, without me, as utterly and absolutely myself, consciously/cognitively, there is no distinction.  And therefore, there is no “reality’ outside of me.  A cup of coffee entirely and “objectively” outside of me–outside of my SELF–is entirely and infinitely irrelevant.  And one cannot claim the existence of that which is infinitely irrelevant. And in this way, apprehending a “reality” for me–that is, a reality that I can observe and thus claim from the place of me, yet not from me, but outside of me–is a violation of both my identity and the identity of “reality”.  To claim a reality outside of me that I can somehow observe and know and yet exists entirely and absolutely and completely independent of me is not to affirm reality, but to destroy it.  It is to dismantle cognition as the means of ascertaining truth, because it is to say that human cognition has nothing fundamentally to do with reality.  But since cognition is, in fact, the means, and only means, by which man can know anything, to dismantle it is to subordinate humanity to an entirely unknowable “reality”.  And if that isn’t a recipe for tyranny, then I don’t know what is.  And this is precisely why in the 60 years or so since Objectivism became the chef d’oeuvre of “rationalists” despotism has done nothing but advance…and mightily so.

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While Objectivists speak of absolute distinction between the observer and reality, they also claim that Objectivism fully and absolutely integrates the observer, via the metaphysical primary of Existence, into that reality.  This is a problem.  How can you step outside of that which is, at root, you–existence–in order to observe you?  That is, if you are are fully and absolutely a function of the absolute and infinite metaphysical primary, how can you make the distinction between “you” and “reality” by appealing to an absolute which is both?

In order to answer this contradiction, some objectivists, or respecters of Objectivism, will assert the concept of “emergent properties”. And this is the idea that something in whole becomes greater in some sense than the sum of its parts.  This, in fact, cannot be literally true. That is, it is only ever subjectively true, never objectively so. Abstractly…subjectively, yes.  A thing can have more value than its mere material properties would suggest; but notice that this requires a conscious observer to apply that thing to his particular frame of reference of Self. In terms of objective truth, it is impossible to claim that a thing is anything more than that of which it is comprised at root.  That is, there is no such thing as some “property” “emerging” beyond the absolute irreducible ontic essence of something. Like, if we claim that all things, including human beings, are at root a function of immutable physical laws, or absolute fundamental particles interacting according to these absolutely immutable physical laws (which is a contradiction…but that’s a topic for later), and that this has nothing whatsoever to do with consciousness/cognition–that is, has nothing to do with the fact that man apprehends and defines ALL of what he perceives as real via his awareness of Self (his ability to conceptualize relative distinctions between his Self, and what is NOT Self)–then we cannot claim that consciousness is somehow an “emergent property” and therefore doesn’t contradict the absolute and irreducible source of man and all things, which is utterly and absolutely unconscious.  This is a fallacy, and cannot be taken seriously.

The idea of “emergent properties”, in other words, is the irrational assertion that you get consciousness from what is absolutely unconscious; that you get free will from irrelevant determinism (biological, physical, natural, mathematical); that you get Self–in the sense of a singular “You”, from NOT You; an observational and existential frame of reference of “I” from NOT I; that what is infinite, Existence–which according to Objectivism is the irreducible, infinite metaphysical primary–spawns a plurality of finite objects; that an infinite existence somehow produces a plurality of itself without contradicting itself.

And it is from this claim–that existence as the metaphysical primary somehow spawns a plurality of itself…where things can actually exist utterly distinct from one another and allow for the observer to perceive a “reality” outside himself (outside his cognition)–that we get the common obectivist refrain of “existence exists”.

But “existence exists” is simply saying that existence has existence, which is a tautological assertion, and therefore a logical failure.  You see, the rational metaphysical argument is not that the primary simply implies itself, but that it implies someONE–some observer; some reference–who is able to claim that it is, in fact, the metaphysical primary in the first place; that it is, in fact, TRUE. That it holds REAL relevance; REAL efficacy.  That it implies something in a practical sense beyond itself, which can see it, and know it, but doesn’t contradict it as the absolute and irreducible primary.  Objectivism fails at this, and therefore ultimately fails entirely…as does any other philosophy which fails to meet the requirement for a rationally consistent metaphysical primary.

Now, having said that, reconciling this inherent metaphysical paradox is really hard.  So hard, in fact, that I’m not sure of any primary outside of my own (Ability) which successfully does this.  Here’s why it’s so challenging:

Let’s look at “existence exists” again.  What is absolutely itself, and irreducibly, or infinitely so, cannot possess properties of itself, because those “properties” are necessarily also infinite.  And as such they are undefinable…other than to say that the properties of existence are existence itself, which as I have explained is a logical failure.

Further, saying that existence exists is merely saying that existence is itself, which is a meaningless claim unless “itself” can be defined.  But if “itself” is infinite then it cannot be valued…for if there is no limitation to itself, then it cannot be anywhere, and thus it cannot be anything.  Another way to put it is: that which is everything and everywhere cannot be anything or anywhere.  That which is all is itself nothing.

But the rational metaphysical primary must certainly be absolute, and thus infinite, which according to my explication above is a contradiction that seems beyond resolution, making any metaphysical primary impossible.  Now, I submit that this is not actually the case–that it is a true paradox, and not a contradiction, and therefore has a resolution.  But the question here is: Does “existence” as a primary resolve it?

The answer is no.  Because “existence” doesn’t imply anything beyond itself, and this is proven by the epigram which oft accompanies it: “existence exists”.  This simply means that existence implies existence.  It begins and ends with itself.  The “plurality” of itself, from which the observer ostensibly arises, ironically doesn’t actually exist! The observer cannot be made rationally distinct from “existence” if “existence” is the metaphysical primary…a distinction which is utterly necessary if he is to actually observe anything.  You see, it’s not about whether or not the observer exits, but whether or not the observer is able to define existence.  That is, it’s not about whether or not the observer IS at root the metaphysical primary, but whether the primary actually implies–demands/necessitates–that there BE an observer…that he occupy a place from which he can SEE it, as distinct from himself, and know it, and define it, and therefore make it relevant; make it actually the TRUE metaphysical primary.

But, again, “existence” doesn’t imply anything beyond itself, and therefore the observer cannot actually observe it (nor anything else, since all “things” are equally infinite “existence), and so he cannot define it.  Therefore, as soon as an objectivist makes any truth claim, let alone the claim that “existence” is the metaphysical primary, they have dismantled the primary and thus their entire philosophy. There is nothing outside of existence, not even the objectivist. Because all things have equal absolute existence, there is no such thing as “all things”.  There is just infinite existence, which is, in fact, nothing at all. Because: that which is all, is actually nothing.

In summary, there is a dreadfully complicated paradox here that for all of its beauty and Rand’s inarguable genius Objectivism doesn’t answer.  Because to answer it is to reject its metaphysical primary, which is a rejection of itself.  The only root objective thing at all anywhere is the metaphysical primary; and Objectivism’s primary, existence, spawns nothing but subjectivism by affirming and necessitating that the observer/reality paradox is infinitely paradoxical.  And this is how a paradox becomes a contradiction.  Because a paradox which can have no resolution is no longer a paradox, it is an impossibility…a contradiction in terms.  And contradiction is the mother of subjectivity. Because contradiction as infinite foundational “truth” spawns infinite truths. Which is simply infinite contradiction.

All of this makes Objectivism considerably ironic.  An “objective” metaphysic which demands utterly subjective epistemology, purpose, ethics, and politics is hardly objective, let alone a rational basis for the argumentation of objective reality.

END

When the State Asserts that Man is Both the Standard of Good and the Threat to the Good: The rational failure of a Government by and of the People

Man must be protected from himself is the argument for government in a nutshell. And this? Is a very bad argument. This sophist rationale is why freedom is never to be found under the auspices of government.

Any government.

Ever.

Anywhere.

Because freedom which is function of what an external monolith of “legal” violence, like the State, will allow is not freedom. It is, by definition, control. The phrase “that which allows us to be free” contains a fundamental contradiction in terms. Freedom does not and cannot operate under the auspices of threats of violence for stepping out of external, codified boundaries. And to say that these boundaries are what guarantees that freedom itself (in the form of unfettered wicked indulgence by the naturally depraved human being) doesn’t become oppressive is another contradiction, as it makes the restraint of freedom the foundational moral operation; it makes the limitation of freedom the means, so the argument goes, of ensuring freedom.  But unless man is able to choose his actions, by not having his behavior fundamentally dictated and coerced through threats of violence should be stray from an abstract, subjective (yes, subjective) legal code, there can be no morality. Why? Because there can be no choice. For if man cannot choose to do good, then man cannot do good at all. And actions which are compelled at gunpoint are not choices!

It is not necessarily intentional. It is not necessarily rank deception. It is most likely a function of the prevailing philosophy regarding the nature of man which has never, to my knowledge, been reconciled to reason…where reason is a place that cannot ever, under any circumstance, accommodate contradiction.

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Because of man’s tendency to do evil, so the argument goes, left to his own unfettered (un-governed) devices society must inevitably dissolve into an orgy of tyranny and oppression.

This is a contradiction which nullifies the argument, and renders the practical application of it both impossible to any efficacy and ultimately destructive. For man cannot be both good and evil. What I mean by this is that he who is the standard for morality–for good–cannot also be he who wrecks this standard. He from whom rights are said to be derived cannot also be the one who poses the threat to the those very rights. Man cannot be the primary thing worth saving and the primary thing which jeopardizes that salvation.

Now, of course we may rightly assert that some human beings truly do evil and therefore are capable of harming others, but this is not the argument with which we are presented in defense of government. The argument is that human beings on the whole cannot fundamentally be trusted to exist outside of the power of coercive authority because human nature itself is depraved.

Human beings have the natural tendency toward evil, so it is argued. They are prone to it–not by choice, but because of naturally determined instinct. What this mean is that when presented with the option of good or evil, human beings, absent any external arbitrating, force, will do evil. They must…because they are driven in such an unfettered circumstance by their nature, and their nature is evil. Therefore, human beings must be governed by an outside force–a governing authority– in order to keep their natural evil in check, and to (hypocritically) ensure the existence and perpetuation of the human race by means of a rigid and regulated social apparatus that ultimately dictates all behavior by threatening its denizens with violence should they dare resist its self-proclaimed mandate to control man for the sake of man. And this is the metaphysical and ethical foundation upon which government stands. Go and see for yourself. Ask 20 people why we need government and I guarantee you that 20 of 20 will regurgitate, in some manner, the hypocritical philosophy I just explicated.

This foundational philosophy ironically and certainly inadvertently undermines the oft-trotted argument that government can exist of the people, for the people, and by the people. That is, it undermines–by its inherent and fatal contradiction–the assertion that people are the standard of the law which the government exists to uphold. If people are by nature evil, and this the root of their very being, then it simply cannot be argued that they may simultaneously represent the good which government must protect. On the contrary, if man is by nature evil, and can no more help doing evil when left to his own devices than he can help walking upright, then people in fact represent a singular threat to good. Because their nature is inexorable and absolute evil, they are the antithesis of good. And therefore, people must be controlled, not set free, by an external coercive authority. And this is exactly what they are, no matter what anyone says to the contrary. You cannot claim to be free in an environment where all of your actions are ultimately a function of what someone else says you are allowed to do.

Further, the  idea that a government can exist in the interest of a humanity which is by nature evil is to assert that the government is a proponent of evil. This, however, is never the argument for government, because though true, it wrecks the benevolent facade of coercive authority. On the contrary, the argument is always that government exists for good, and that without government, man’s evil nature will reign supreme. And what this means is that it is not man, but the government which is actually the standard of good. The people are not the standard. The people are not that from which moral “rights” are derived. The government is. For the “rights of the people” are irrelevant absent government, because absent government man’s natural evil must subordinate them. The people, then, are not the source of moral dictums, but are the singular danger to them. They are not the value of the law. They are the enemy of it. So they must be controlled.

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You cannot legitimately argue that man represents that from which natural moral rights are derived, and yet at the same time claim that he is evil and represents the singular existential threat to those rights, and therefore must be governed. This is to create in man a dichotomy of nature which contradicts and nullifies itself. If man is good, and this as a function of his very nature, then it is both irrational and counterproductive to establish an institution which exists to compel moral behavior by “authoritative” (legalized)  violence. For to insist that the naturally good man must be compelled to good through violence is to deny that man can do good on his own, and this denies that his nature is in fact good.  And if man is evil, and this a function of his nature, then man cannot possibly be compelled to good, for good is utterly exclusive of his being. To compel him to good is an impossible task. For man, being evil, perverts good, he does not cultivate it. It’s like adding poison to a meal and calling it seasoning. The only thing for which the naturally evil man is fit is destruction. In either case, government is utterly beside the point.

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To attempt to use force to compel the naturally evil man into goodness, or to prevent the naturally good man from losing his goodness is like attempting to compel the frog out of his frog-ness, or to prevent the frog from losing his frog-ness. The frog is by nature absolutely a frog. No amount of violence and no amount of coercion can make him a rabbit. And since the frog is by nature a frog he can pose no threat to his own frog-ness. No centralized coercive authority is necessary to prevent, nor is it effective in preventing, the frog from losing his frog-ness.

The man who is good by nature has no use for government, because by definition he cannot lose his goodness. Nor can he pose a threat to his own natural goodness (i.e. left to himself, man who is “naturally” good when governed somehow becomes “naturally” evil when free of government). Because to claim that he may pose a threat to his own goodness is to deny that he is, in fact, naturally good. And the man who is evil by nature has no use for government, because he cannot be compelled to do good. Because to claim that the man who is evil by nature can be synthesized into good is to deny that he is, in fact, naturally evil. The naturally evil man is fit only for destruction. And if he is destroyed, then there is no one to govern, and thus there is no point in government.

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And all of this leads us to another truth.

Man cannot be defined according to a moral nature. And of course once we no longer define him this way, there is no rational philosophical argument for the existence of government. Why? Because government is force, and force is violence, and violence nullifies choice. The man who cannot choose is a man who cannot express his own agency; and the man who cannot express his own agency cannot express SELF. Thus, he cannot BE himself in any relevant way.

You see, man is not a moral agent in the sense that morality defines him. Man is a rational agent. What this means that man is the epistemological frame of reference for all he knows; all he thinks; all he does. That is, man being himself, where “himself” is the agent who conceptualizes existence and thus makes it relevant and meaningful, is why man knows what he knows. Because he is SELF, and absolutely so, he is able to make distinctions between good and evil, and truth and fallacy. He is the arbiter–the reference–for knowledge.

Man’s nature is not a moral one, it is to be the reference for morality—for good and evil; truth and fallacy.  HE defines and applies these things. Therefore, it is HE who governs them, not the other way around (the other way around being to make man subordinate to the very ideas and concepts which are meaningless and useless without him). For what is Truth unless it is true TO AND FOR MAN? And what is goodness unless it is good TO AND FOR MAN?

These things are worthless. They are nothing. They are non-existent.

It is man who serves as the epistemological and moral standard for all of the reality in which he exists. Man cannot rationally or productively be subordinated to a legal moral standard that derives the entirety of its value and relevancy and meaning from him. Man cannot serve moral standards, moral standards must serve him. Man does not serve truth. Truth serves him.  To erect a set of rules for man to follow and by this claim he is good is to strip man from his rightful place as the only rational moral and epistemological reference for all of truth and goodness. And once this happens, truth and goodness have no meaning…and so the rules are pointless. Rules to which man is subordinated by violence are ultimately his destruction, not his salvation.

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The Ability to Conceptualize Must Precede Existence: Existence is an irrational metaphysical Primary

As described in the previous essay on this subject, object A must be defined in comparative terms with object B–or C, D, E, etc.. That is, in terms  that include what is not A.  And the presence of he who defines, that is, the observer, makes this fact self-evident. The observer can only know A from the frame of reference of himself. (Where Self is not a mathematical, but a metaphysical/ontological absolute. Not merely a reference, but the reference for all of what he calls Reality). Meaning, he must make the distinction as an observer between what he is and what he is not– that is, himself and, in this scenario, object A; he must make the distinction between the observed and the observer. And since the observer is required to provide the frame of reference for the definition and thus the Truth, Efficacy, and even morality of what is observed–again, in this example, object A–it is clear that A cannot exist in a vacuum of itself. The observer is required to define A in the first place, and thus declare that A, now defined as this or that, does, in fact, exist.  Which brings me to…

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The Utter Necessity of Existence as Simply a Function of Conceptualization:

Of course, observation is not merely observation, itself, but is, in all practical and efficacious fact, a function of conceptualization. For it would seem self-evident (though, paradoxically, this is not asserted, except when conceptualization is confused with consciousness, which is false) that absent the conceptuualization of what is observed it is impossible to define what is observed. And if what is observed has no definition then there is no rational grounds to claim that anything is actually observed at all; and thus that which is said to exist–when Existence is the metaphysical primary, and observation (empiricism) is the means of ascertaining reality–at root cannot possibly be named and thus it cannot possibly be known, and thus it cannot possibly be said to BE, period.  In which case, where Existence precedes Conceptualization, it must be asserted that nothing actually exists first; and the observer then observes this “nothing” and somehow defines it.  In other words, the observer is said to observe nothing (that which is nameless and utterly definition-less), which somehow exists, and then conceptualize it, after which it becomes something…that is, nothing, which exists, becomes something because of man’s conceptualizing power, and yet man has nothing to do with its existence, even though without him it cannot be known or stated what actually exists at all. Which thus undermines the argument that Existence exists prior to conceptualization, because existence absent that which is defined as having existence is not only irrelevant and irrational, but impossible. Infinite Existence as a Primary can neither be valued, nor does it imply the existence of things which can be valued. Only conceptualization can create things which are said to exist. It is a controversial statement, but Conceptualization creates things from otherwise infinitely relative infinite parts; Existence does not, and cannot. And this fact disqualifies Existence as a the Primary.

(Without first the established and absolute Ability to conceptualize, Existence can have no relationship to whatever is said to exist, since it is not Existence which DEFINES that which is said to exists/that which is observed to exist, but the conceptualizing powers of the observer. Without first this ability, nothing can be defined, and thus nothing can exist, since it is impossible–by the very defining of Existence as the metaphysical primary–to divorce Existence from that which exists.)

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The Epistemological Importance of Relatively

A will be conceptualized in terms which include what he, the observer, is not, which means that A  must also be defined in terms which include what it is not. For example, A is not the observer. Thus both the observer and A are defined, necessarily, due to the nature of observation, by comparing one to the other. A is A because it is not the observer, and vice versa. Rendered a different way, A is A because it is not B.  Which makes B a foundational reason why A is in fact A. One cannot make an existential or ontological  distinction between A and B without conceding that A and B have an existence which is entirely dependent (so to speak) upon one another, which means that neither A nor B can be themselves merely a function of themselves. Relative distinction between A and B, plus the conceptualization of the observer are all necessary in order for any definitions to be rendered for any of these things. (This is why I assert that Conceptualization and Relativity are corollaries, and are the foundation of all rational epistemology. In short, they are the only rational means by which man can know what he knows.)

So again, A is A because it is not B (where B could mean the observer) and vice versa; and this is the only means by which anything is and can be defined. Being relative to, but not B, means that A can actually be defined. For if something is not something else, only then can it be itself–and from this truth the observer is able to define that A is A. A is this, because it is observed, relatively (and only relatively) speaking, to not be that.

But if A is A absent this relative comparison–if A is A qua A, as Existence as the metaphysical Primary asserts, then:

1.  The observer cannot be present, because the presence of an observer automatically creates a relative distinction between the observer and A.  Which means that A must and will be defined in comparative terms…that is, in terms which include its relative distinction from the observer.  That is, A will be defined in terms that include what it is not. And therefore, it is impossible to claim that the existence of A is a function of itself–A qua A. If the assertion is that A is A qua A,  then the observer cannot be present, which means that no one is there to conceptualize A. In which case, how can A be defined?

2. A is infinite, with no end to itself, because an end necessitates the concession that A is distinct.  A ends, and where A ends something else not A must begin, even if the end of A is “space”. For  in this instance, where A ends, and there begins space, it must be conceded that space is in fact something, even if we merely concede that that something is simply “not A”. (Note: I do not concede that there is such a thing as space-as-an-object. My metaphysic declares a corollary relationship between relativity and conceptualization, eliminating both the need and the possibility of “empty space”, as a thing in and of itself.  I merely use space in this example to illustrate that a literal physical end to object A necessitates its relative existence with something not A, even if  we suppose that that something is merely empty space.) So again, if we accept that  A is A qua A, then we must concede that A is in fact infinite. Which means it cannot be valued, which means it cannot be defined. Hence…

3. Infinite A means that A cannot be valued, which means it cannot be defined. Which means it cannot be said to exist.

Conclusion

All of this serves to illustrate why the notion that A is A because A qua A–that is, A is itself because of itself,  from itself and to itself–is impossible. The very presence of the observer makes this fact self-evident. The very fact that A must be conceptualized in order to be defined means that A cannot be A qua A.

Remember, wherever there is someone asserting that A is A qua A, there is an observer, which thus nullifies the assertion.

Forgiveness Cannot be Removed From the Exculpation of Wrong

If we divorce forgiveness from exculpation, then the repentance of the wrongdoer is unnecessary. But if we divorce forgiveness from exculpation, then what exactly is forgiveness? If not forgiveness, then what is concept which describes the idea that we will no longer hold against someone an evil?

Think awhile. I’ll wait.

And if we say we will no longer hold an evil against someone who actively promotes it and refuses to reject it, then how are we not excusing it and thus tacitly promoting it ourselves? And how exactly does this help the emotionally or physically traumatized deal with their pain? How does calling evil good help victims of evil to even define the problem in the first place? 

I submit that the very concept which is forgiveness demands that it be directed to someone. Which is why it’s contractual, not psychological. Forgiveness not directed to another person or persons to me is meaningless. Obviously we cannot direct it to ourselves. If we are the innocent victims, then there is nothing of which we need to be forgiven. And if we extend it to another who rejects it then what exactly can be done with it?

Forgiveness as a bromide to sooth our emotional pain doesn’t seem consistent with its definition. Of course, I may choose to not allow another’s offense(s) to affect me either emotionally or physically or both (and there are many psychological/spiritual strategies for this) but I cannot forgive an evil act or idea that is still being actively perpetuated without tacitly excusing it. This is a bastardization of forgiveness by all rational definitions of the concept, including the Biblical one, and this makes it satanic.

Another false assertion/assumption is the idea that all “negative” emotions are somehow bad…are counter-productive. Nothing could be less true. Directing pain and anger towards an unrepentant abuser, for example, is extremely effective in motivating people to avoid the abuser and to seek justice for both themselves and other victims. It is not a desire for revenge–as the lie often goes–it is a means of self-preservation and the eradication of evil. Perpetual evil-doers–psychopaths, narcissists, and other vile sundry abusers–absolutely love the idea of forgiveness absent their repentance. Because it allows them to continue to sin without fear of reprisal and shifts the focus from their wickedness to the victim’s “bitterness”.

Reject this false forgiveness and at the very least we resist evil, reject the devil, defang lies, heap judgment upon the wicked, and rescue the innocent from the gaslighting of their oppressors.

Forgiveness is a Contract, Not a Coping Strategy

Forgiving someone who has neither asked for it nor admitted to any violation is not possible. Forgiveness not sought is pointless. For example, by definition, you cannot give a person a gift if the gift isn’t wanted or accepted.

Forgiveness as a tool for emotional healing willl have the opposite effect, and will prove destructive; and further, it really just means the excuse of evil, or the repression of one’s justifiable anger, or both. This isn’t a remediation of the wrongdoing suffered, it is a compounding of it.  And this makes it satanic.

Some may claim that forgiveness is a way we don’t allow evil people and their actions to have power over us (whatever the fuck that means). But two things:

First, you cannot say “I will love and accept you [which is precisely what forgiveness is] no matter how evil you are or what evil you remorselessly perpetrate” without at the very least tacitly excusing the evil. And excusing evil,  empowers evil. It does not neutralize it. 

Second, evil SHOULD have the “power”–that is, the effect of making us angry; to make us hurt so that we see it and feel it for the turgid crime that it is; to spur us on to demand its redaction and to furiously demand justice.

Also, to not extend forgiveness does not necessarily mean that one wishes harm or death upon the perpetrator of the violation. It is not the desire for revenge. It is simply a rational recognition of the inability to excuse guilt until the guilty admit their failure and vow to correct it.

We must remember that real forgiveness is meant to be a contract between people, a peace between the repentant wrongdoer and the wronged. It is not an emotional coping strategy for the legitimate sufferer of evil. A better coping strategy for dealing with unrepentant perpetrators of evil is justice, and/or a termination of the relationship, or even violent defense of oneself, depending on the circumstance.

Finally, in my experience I have noticed that forgiveness-absent-contrition tends to favor the evil doer, and especially authoritarian clergy people, who often shift the focus from their wickedness and mendacity to YOUR “sin” of “bitterness” and “lack of grace”.

☘️

Not Primacy of Consciousness or Existence; the Primacy is of the Relativity/Conceptualization Corollary

The only difference between an infinite singularity and an infinite number of (necessarily relatively existing) parts is that the former precludes conceptualization while the latter demands it. This being the case, the proof that there is no infinite singularity but rather an infinity of parts insofar as the ontological reality of the universe is concerned is that man conceptualizes. And the proof of this is the fact that I have written this post, and that you have read it.

The fact that there is only a relatively existing infinity of parts and not an infinite singularity also serves to prove that conceptualization cannot be existentially/ontologically/metaphysically/physically divorced from reality. Relativity and conceptualization must be corollaries. In other words, man’s ability to declare what things are is fully integrated into the object reality of the universe. Without man’s naming of that which he says is, by his ability to conceptualize the relative interaction of the infinity of parts he observes, there can be nothing at all.

🍀

Scientific Determinism and Cause and Effect, and Ethics: an in-depth conversation with a determinist

The following is a conversation I had last week with an apologist for scientific determinism in the comments section of a Sam Harris YouTube video entitled “Free Will“. The first comment is my intitial contribution to the thread where I am addressing not Philip, the person with whom I will eventually have the conversation, but simply the video itself. The “you” in this comment refers to Sam Harris, as well as anyone who would assert, specifically, the fallacy that there can be ethics despite an utter lack of any free will, and this due to the monolithic and infinite deterministic power of “cause and effect”.

This is a complicated issue…well…no…the issue qua the issue isn’t actually that complicated. That is, the complication and complexity which indubitably arises in these kinds of discussions isn’t so much a function of the relatively simple and arrantly true claim that “A man who has no agency (cannot act according to himself) cannot actually do anything, because he qua he doesn’t act; and so by definition he cannot act ethically, so why the fuck are we bringing ethics into a conversation about determinism?”, but rather due to the fact that an advocate for determinism and an advocate for individual agency are going to interpret reality according to entirely separate and mutually exclusive metaphysical premises. This means that the conversation, in order for it to not be a collosal waste of time will trend towards…that’s right, metaphysics.  And that’s where the shit gets real. It is there, and only there, that you can really make the relevant case for your position. Like…if you are going to say that man is Self (that is, an Agent who functions from a position of Self-awareness, which implies the actually reality of Self and thus an efficacious distinction between Self and Other (environment)), or that man is Determined (a direct function of Cause and Effect, and thus has no efficacious ontological autonomy), then you must necessarily answer the question “What IS man?”. And that’s why metaphysics is always a part of these discussions, and why they go the way they go when the two conversants are fully committed to their completely different ideas, and also to the conversation (a combination which is unfortunately a lot rarer than you might think). Getting to the metaphysics is involved, and requires a careful and voluminous and painstaking dissection of any number of tertiary and ancillary assumptions. Obviously a YouTube comments thread isn’t the most ideal setting for this dialectic, which is why you’ll undoubtedly notice that the conversation is a bit clumsy and opaque in places.  Nevertheless I think that this conversation has, overall, a lot of value. For example, two of the more salient topics I address is:

1. How determinism contradicts the plurality of existence (the distinction (independence)) of existant objects, which is an implicit prerequisite for cause and effect according to the determinist’s own definition of this mechanism; and:

2. The paradox of: the necessity of the absolute-ness of objects (objects being infinitely themselves…that is infinite existential singularity) + the necessity of absolute relationship between a given object and any number of other distinct objects (infinite existential plurality)…which, as I said, scientific determinism contradicts.

The non-italicized comments are mine, the italicized, his. Thanks so much for reading; I hope you enjoy it.

-Zach

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Laughable. You can deny the existence of will and choice, which, drawn out to its logical conclusion, means that the Agent who is said to Will and to Choose (the autonomous Self) is entirely irrelevant, which practically speaking is the equivalent of non-existence, and yet still argue for ethics! Absurd. How do you have morality [or ethics] absent moral [or ethical] agency? How do you have intelligence absent intellectual agency? Scientific determinism is proof that scientists shouldn’t be within a thousand miles of philosophy. Once Sam can provide a metaphysic which does not collapse under the weight of its own contradictions then maybe I’ll consider him more than just another articulate pseudo-intellectual turned polemic.

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I think you’re confusing ethics with moral accountability. Even without free will, it makes sense to want people to have a good experience in life. You can accept you aren’t in control of your thoughts and actions, but you still have a conscious experience. So we have an ethical obligation, regardless of the existence of free will, to increase well being wherever we can. That means potentially stopping someone from doing something that decreases well being. Whether or not they were in control is besides the point.

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Without moral accountability, ethics are irrelevant. Meaning, you cannot argue for rational ethics if no one is actually able to act ethically, because choice (and thus will; and thus consciousness) is precluded by your scientific determinism. The irony is that this destruction of ethics (by making “Determinism” the metaphysic) is exactly what the Protestant church teaches. Man is fallen, and thus pervasively depraved, and so cannot choose good or know Truth. Sam is just another mystic without the funny clothes, I’m afraid.

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you didn’t really reply to what I said. I said suffering and well being still matter if free will doesn’t exist. and there’s no reason to think consciousness wouldn’t exist without free will. People can act ethically and also accept that they are not in control. determinism does not argue that we are depraved and evil, it argues that we are what we are for reasons beyond our control. To some, recognizing this make morality clearer. You are able to forgive others and think in terms of how they can be helped. if there’s no cause behind their action then there’s no way to change it. Belief in determinism also keeps you cognizant of what is affecting you and the things you do. you may not be in control, but in a sense you gain perspective from recognizing this.

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I did reply. You are arguing that ethics is possible absent moral agency. That is, absent the ability to choose right from wrong. If choice between right and wrong is impossible, then what you know to be good or bad with respect to anything is irrelevant. Which makes ethics irrelevant. And that which is irrelevant cannot by definition be effectively applied. Further, I notice that you make the implicit argument that you can know what is true or false and good or bad without actually being able to choose to pursue or apply one over the other. This is a rational impossibility. To be able to define a thing and yet be unable to apply it to a paradigm (like your existence) referenced to You (You, the Observer, as distinct from what you observe), makes the definition irrelevant. And it is impossible to generate an irrelevant definition. You cannot create meaning which doesn’t actually mean anything.

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Ethics is a function of epistemology. It is the rational (True, and thus appropriate, or Good) application of what you know. If you are unable to apply what you know, because free will and thus choice is impossible, then ethics does not exist. And if there is no application of what you know, then what you know is irrelevant; and if what you know is irrelevant, then you cannot actually know yourself. Which makes “yourself” impossible to define. Which means you cannot define others.. And all of this means that “Sam Harris” doesn’t actually exist to make this argument. And neither do you or I. So who is typing then?

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maybe we have a different definition of ethics. to me, an ethical action or event is one that results in someone feeling good rather than suffering. it’s true that if your definition of ethics requires moral agency, then yes, ethics don’t exist within determinism. all I am saying is that people have experiences regardless of control and it makes sense to want those experiences to be good even if you can’t truly control them. the thing is, we can apply our knowledge of right and wrong without control over the factors that led to the knowledge. it doesn’t make sense to make a decision of right or wrong that is not based on factors you don’t control. what would that even look like? which brings up the other point of the self. it’s true, under determinism the self is just an amalgamation of genes and experience. this solidifies the definition of the self more than a belief that there is some un-quantifiable 3rd factor. or you could just look at the self as the result of a configuration of matter that happens to result in consciousness, which also makes sense. you and I and Sam Harris exist as vessels for experience with predispositions. so yes, I’d say you are typing, but you are your genes and environment.

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Okay…well, leaving aside ethics for now, wrt your last comment I would ask how it is possible under the scientific determinism argument to get consciousness from unconsciousness? That is, determinism, I submit by definition, is the absolute antithesis of consciousness. It renders it completely (infinitely) irrelevant–lacking any degree of efficacy whatsoever, which means that if determinism is true, consciousness could not possibly exist. The empirical and rational proof of consciousness is that which gives it efficacy–the ability to apply the awareness of Self to a given existential context (the Self in Its Environment). If choice is impossible, then awareness is meaningless, because man cannot apply what he knows, including the knowledge of him Self. Which brings us back to the lack of any rational efficacy to consciousness within the determinist model. And we can assert that consciousness is an illusion, but this merely begs the question “An illusion of what?”. How can there be an illusion of that which determinism makes impossible by making it utterly antithetical to determinism?

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I’m not sure I see why consciousness has to be connected to free will. we don’t know how consciousness arose, but it seems rational to assume it comes from the brain. it may be my lack of philosophical training, but I’m not sure what you mean by the proof of consciousness being the ability to apply the self to an existential context. the only evidence I see is ones own experience. I know I am conscious, but I don’t know you are conscious. there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of free will. the two seem mutually exclusive. it’s not that choice is impossible, it’s just that all the factors that go into a decision can be, in theory, accounted for, given enough data. I don’t really see consciousness as an illusion because of what you said: an illusion of what? it’s a space for us to process information, but we know it’s not the only way we process info. the info we process, both conscious and unconscious, gives rise to our feelings, emotions, personality, views, and everything that we imagine makes up the self. I would say the self is an illusion if you believe we are just vessels for experience. but, consciousness itself is the tool we use to experience the world. my answer to your question is that I don’t think consciousness, free will, or even ethics really depend on each other. I like this conversation. if you can, I’d like to hear how you reach the idea that consciousness is antithetical to free will.

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Well, I think studying philosophy would be something you might do…not to sound pejorative or patronizing, of course. I find that the lack of rational consistency which is, again with respect, profound amongst scientists has precisely to do with their ignorance with respect to philosophy. Scientists are great at mathematically categorizing what they observe, but have no real plumb line for actually defining it in an ontological sense, which is absolutely necessary before one can make a philosophical assertion like “free will is an illusion”. Indeed, in order for science to be in any way meangingful, one must assume an ontological distinction between the observer and what he observes. Scientists like Harris obliterate this distinction by making the observer a DIRECT function of what he observes, which wrecks the dichotomy that gives science any practical application or indeed any meaning by wrecking the ability of the observer to actually apply any of the knowledge he gathers about his environment through observation because choice, which is rooted in the knowledge of what is true or false, becomes impossible. And this because the observer–the moral and intellectual agent whose existence provides the rationally necessary context for knowledge gained through observation–is concluded to not actually exist. Consciousness I submit is merely the ability of the Self–the individual Observer, of you will–to conceptualize what he observes and the apply it to his life: the manifestation of the ability of oneto make a distinction between himself and his environment. It’s not a “state”. It’s merely the awareness of self, which is merely the ability to conceptualize self, which implies the conceptualization of that which is not self. Once this dichotomy is realized, free will I think is self evident.

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I must be missing it, but I don’t see how a lack of agency leads to nonexistence. You can put info into a calculator and it gives you an answer. That does not make it free. Similarly, we can take in info and then apply the knowledge we gained from it. The process is much more complicated for us, but at no point do I see the opportunity to insert free will. I don’t see how Harris wrecks the distinction between observer and what he observes or, if he does, how that makes choice impossible. Unless by “choice” you mean free choice. We make choices all the time with the inputs I’ve already mentioned. Your talk of an ontological argument seems to muddy the waters. The logic seems simple to me: If the material brain is all that is responsible for consciousness, then consciousness arises out of states of matter. If we live in a universe that follows cause and effect, then all states of matter arise out of previous states of matter. I’m sure it can be put more eloquently, but that’s how I think of it. Your last paragraph makes sense to me until the end. I don’t see how the conceptualization of self and that which isn’t the self leads to free will. I previously talked about the self being an illusion in that it is merely how genetics and experience manifest in consciousness. So in some sense, I think the dichotomy is false. The self is unavoidably connected to everything else because it is a product of everything else. I see what you mean about destroying the distinction now. It seems unavoidable. I guess I’d like to know if you think the logical argument I gave above makes sense. We can argue about the truth of the “ifs” if you’d like, but it’d be a weird and probably fruitless argument.

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I’m loquacious…that sometimes makes my arguments less accessible than I’d like them to be. My apologies. What I am trying to convey is that when you destroy the distinction between observer and observed, you cannot speak of Self, which means you QUA you cannot possibly make the arguments you (or Harris) are making. The very fact that you claim a truth is the proof that you concede that you can know the difference between truth and falsehood and can act in service to this knowledge. * If all things are determined, then there is no difference between this idea or that. Sam Harris is no more correct in his asssertions with respect to will than one who asserts the exact opposite. Everything by his own definition is merely the necessary and unavoidable effect of the Great All Determining Cause. So Harris makes an argument whilst at the same rendering his argument moot. Your agreement or disagreement is as determined as his assertion. Of what value then is consciousness? Of what value is knowledge? Of what value is science? None at all. And this further undermines his argument. As far as a “cause and effect” universe–I really don’t understand what that means. In order for “cause and effect” to have any practical value, there must be a difference between those things which are cause and effected, I would think.. Are you saying that “cause and effect” is a force which actually causes the things (material objects) upon which it acts? And if so, how do you quantify or even qualify cause and effect since nothing actually exists to be caused or effected because every object is a DIRECT and absolute function of “cause and effect”. Or are you saying that cause and effect is a force which is distinct from the things upon which it acts? In which case those things, ontologically speaking, are their own root “causes” if you will. I myself submit that cause and effect is simply one of many ways man conceptualizes the relative movement of objects he observes. Cause and effect is not ACTUALLY causal in the ontological sense. Meaning that cause and effect can describe relative movement but it cannot explain how a thing exists.

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this is getting into territory that departs from practicality. how is any science able to be done without breaking the dichotomy? I think youre judging the value of an assertion based on whether or not it was made freely rather than whether or not it reflects a truth about reality. and if we’re going to regress into claiming to not know anything about reality, then we can’t really get anywhere. my agreement or disagreement still matters without freedom of choice because it is still either right or wrong and it has consequences in the world. your deconstruction of cause and effect has left me perplexed and no closer to understanding you. I’m using cause and effect in the simple way people use it normally. as in, one thing causes another thing. a thing cannot come from no cause. I don’t know about you, I’ve experienced enough to believe all things are caused. what would it look like to see something that wasn’t caused? I don’t get your definition of existence. does something have to be separate from cause and effect to prove cause and effect? that simply makes no sense, and also doesn’t seem like a rational argument against it. if cause and effect can’t explain how something exists, then I don’t know what can. science makes basic assumptions about reality to function, but anyone who would honestly dispute those assumptions would not be able to function in reality themselves. philosophy and pure logic has its uses, but it seems one can use word games to get somewhere that doesn’t truly make any sense. we could blame this on my ignorance, but I have confidence that I would understand what you are saying if it truly made sense. I can tell you are very intelligent, but your ideas just aren’t clicking with me

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Quick reply: If everything is a direct function of something else, how can anything actually exist? If cause and effect is monolithic and infinite, how are objects actually independent of each other?

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I just do not see why interconnectedness makes things non-existent. Object aren’t really independent of each other? there’s no situation where an object isn’t being affected by another objects, even if it’s just gravity. can you give me one example of a thing that is not a direct function of something else?

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But it’s not interconnected-ness you are asserting. It’s a lack of any distinction whatsoever. You are making one thing an absolute function of another. “Absolute” means that there is no actual difference between the cause and the effect. This is not interconnectedness. This is the assertion that no “thing” (an object qua itself) actually exists. It makes your empirical perception of distinct objects actually impossible. To answer your question, I guess I would ask: does the apple fall from the tree because of gravity first, or because it is able, as a function of its own independent existence, to be “caused upon” by gravity? Unless the apple IS actually the apple, first, then it cannot be caused upon by gravity…there can be no real relationship.. Gravity then requires a true dichotomy. A true distinction. An apple qua an apple. Determinism makes this impossible.

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yes but you wouldn’t attribute free will to the apple simply because it exists right? gravity may cause it’s movement, but it’s existence is not of its own doing. it came from an apple tree, which came from a seed, and on back the causes go. how can cause and effect be separate when each effect then becomes a cause? what I am saying is that an object can’t exist without a cause. an effect cannot be removed from its cause so the apple can’t just ‘exist’ independently. gravity’s effect on the apple requires the apple to exist, but the apples existence is predicated on prior cause as well.

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Naturally I wasn’t asserting that the apple had free willl. I was asserting that before an apple can fall, it must BE an apple. It needs to possess a distinct identity before it can be said to be caused upon (effected), and before it can be said to cause something else. The point of my initial comment on this video was to point out the inherent rational contradiction which undermines the whole determinist argument. Since “cause and effect”, or the “laws which govern nature” are absolute and monolithic, there can be no such thing as distinct objects, because no object is “itself”–it is entirely a direct and absolute function of something else. There are no such thing as “things” which cause and effect acts upon, or cause and effect other things, because everything is merely an extension of cause and effect. Nothing has any actual identity. The apple is an absolute function of what caused it, which means the apple does not actually exist as such, which means it couldn’t have been caused, which means that that which caused it isn’t actually a cause, because it produced no effect, since the apple doesn’t actually exist. This is why YOU, if indeed you are a direct and utter extension of something else, don’t actually exist. Which means you can’t have a sense or awareness of “you” because you qua you is impossible. Now, if you’d like me to address how think the contradiction can be resolved with a better explanation of how to interpret reality, I can do that. But the fact that I’ve offered no resolution to your determinist fallacy doesn’t mean it’s not a fallacy. With respect, the determinist model colllapses under the weight of its own massive contradiction. You need a new model. Saying “this is the only model science supports” doesn’t make the model rational or true. It merely means that science as of now has failed to provide a rational interpretation and model of reality. So, re-evaluate your premises and start again.

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I think you’re reading too much into the importance of objects being identifiable. a determinist could describe reality as the process of matter continuously shifting into different forms. the distinction of when an object becomes what it is and stops being what it is is not clear. in this way, cause and effect is more like a continuous process rather than a series of stages because whatever stages you draw are arbitrary. however, it makes no sense to conclude that because stages of matter are ill defined, objects themselves don’t exist. hurricane Matthew is on the way. there is what Matthew is right now, but there is also the process of Matthew’s development. these two concepts cannot be separated, yet we can’t deny the existence of Matthew. I simply do not see this fallacy of determinism. i would like to hear another way to interpret reality that allows things to exist without a cause, but I understand if you are getting tired of this conversation.

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I would say that determinism actually makes cause and effect impossible because there are no independent “things” possible. Everything is merely an extension of determinism. There is no First Cause. Like…the first cause MUST have happened; it could not have NOT happened. In other words, it was determined. It had a cause; and that cause had a cause, and so on and so forth. Cause and effect is subordinated to the infinity of Determinism. Determinism is absolute and monolithic. It doesn’t actually allow for any distinct objects to cause or to be caused upon. Cause and effect is only rational when it becomes merely a cognitive means by which man organizes the relative movement of what he observes. But here’s the bigger issue: I think you are hinting at an implicit root paradox, and I think you are on to something. This is how I define the paradox to which I think you are alluding: object X must be defined according to its observable relationship with object Y; it cannot exist in a vacuum of itself, because in a vacuum of itself it is infinite, and what is infinite cannot be valued and thus cannot be defined. And I am saying that there can be no relationship between objects X and Y unless each object is ACTUALLY itself-with a distinct and separate ontological essence whereby it can have a unique identity and thus it can be said that object X IS ACTUALLY object X, and thus can have a relationship (like “cause and effect”) with object Y. And that is the big question. We need a metaphysic (an irreducible…an axiom of reality; that explains how what is, IS) that resolves this paradox. And it’s not been done yet. Well…I think I’ve done it 🙂 But I don’t think anyone else has. Anyway, I think you’ve definitely identified the paradox. It’s needs to be resolved, but determinism can’t do it.

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I’m still hesitant to accept that cause and effect requires independently defined causes and effects. but I see what you are saying. first cause is obviously a problem, but we can’t expect to know everything, or even that we are capable of understanding first cause, or that the question even makes sense because of the connection of time and space. but you think you have discovered an alternative to the apparent paradox? I’d love to hear it. unless it’s a secret.

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Well, at this point I think I will leave you with the paradox. The explication of the metaphysics, while not complex or hard to understand, necessarily, will likely lead to an even longer and more tedious conversation than this one. And I’m just not up for that right now.:-) I appreciate your time, and this was fun. Thanks for sharing you ideas with me; I always learn just a little bit more by these kinds of engagements, and I discover more of my own weaknesses, which is exceedingly beneficial in refining my ideas and, importantly, how I deliver them. Take care, man. And thanks again.

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Thank you too. I can’t say ive changed my mind but I feel that I need to read more philosophy. It’s a very difficult question. Take care.

Modern Science’s Metaphysical Failure: When the Observer Becomes That Which is Observed (PART 1)

The observer must be distinct…that is, autonomous and not subject to–and rationally understood and defined as such–that which he observes (i.e. processes and objects). To reject and deny this necessary fact, and to launch into a philosophy (an explication of axiomatic Truth with respect to existence) based upon the objects and the processes which “govern” them, and this absent a rationally consistent definition of “observer” which does not subordinate him in the metaphysics sense (meaning he has moral and intellectual autonomy) to these objects and the processes which “govern them”, is the apogee of laziness, pseudo-intellectualism, and irrational, hypocritical, and self-nullifying mysticism. And worse yet, this will and must wreck the very thing–the only thing–which guarantees morality and therefore life and liberty: moral and intellectual awareness via absolute agency referenced to the individual (metaphysically singular–one’s “oneness”, you might say). And agency implies an agent, and by  “agent”, I mean: the Self. That is, he who observes and, more importantly, conceptualizes what he observes in order that he may cognitively (which means, practically speaking, intellectually and morally) organize his environment to the promotion and perpetuation of the Self–himSelf and Other Selves.

And what is the Self?

The Self is the conceptualization of, again, one’s “oneness”.  The Self is he who is inherently Able to define life–“life” being the practical manifestation of one’s will and choice via his ability to conceptualize his existence within a distinct environment–by referencing it to his own  moral and intellectual agency. Further, by this ability to define a moral and intellectual reference for life–for existence–which is himSelf, distinct and autonomous from the objects and processes he observes (from the environment, that is), he may recognize both its truth and goodness, and therefore quite naturally carry a desire to possess it. For he knows that HE is True and Good. And this Truth and Goodness are axiomatic and irreducible; not subject to the objects and processes he observes and conceptualizes, a subjection in the metaphysical sense which would wreck any distinction between himSelf and his environment, thus nullifying the only rational reference for existence at all, which renders moot his ability to conceptualize, which nullifies his ideas, which destroys morality and truth.