Category Archives: Objective Relativity

Illusion and Existence as Ersatz, Postmodern Philosophical Primaries

If anything is said to be an illusion, the following two questions are begged:

An illusion of what?

An illusion for whom?

Both “what” and “whom” must be actual things, and must be distinct. They are, in fact, a prerequisite to illusion. Unless some actual one is experiencing an illusion of some actual thing (that is, unless a real person is experiencing an illusion of a thing or things derived from, and apprehended via the reference of, reality) then there can be no illusion. Therefore, illusion itself cannot be a (philosophical) primary; and I know that this statement may seem obvious, but when you hear the scientific determinists–the post modern priest class as I like to call them–implicitly or explicitly refer to the illusion of human choice and by extension the illusion of consciousness, it seems that obvious statements are no longer so obvious. When leading neurological scientists like Sam Harris and Nobel Prize winning astrophysicists like Stephen Hawking can’t seem to follow basic rational consistency or utter a single coherent philosophical statement, one is forced to explicate the obvious, unfortunately. (As good as these guys are at science is as bad as they are at philosophy, is what I mean to say.)

Interestingly–and this will annoy the Objectivists and others who nod to Aristotle–“Existence”, as a metaphysical primary, is like “Illusion” as postmodern philosophy’s (e.g. scientific determinism) epistemological primary. It begs the same two questions:

Existence of what?

Existence for whom?

As with illusion, both what and whom must be actual things and they must be distinct. Which means they must have a root that precedes existence. If what and whom are both metaphysically identical (both absolute) products of Existence–which Existence as a metaphysical primary implies–then there is no root distinction between what exists and who observes it to exist (“who” being the rational frame of reference for that which is). And therefore there is no one to define what exists. And if what exists cannot be defined then who exists cannot either. Which renders Existence as a metaphycial primary entirely absent meaning. Which it is.

(Side note: You see, all definitions of what exists are products of man’s consciousness, which by the boundaries placed upon truth by Existence can have no fundamental, objective bearing upon reality, which is entirely ALL of Existence, including consciousness itself. Existence doesn’t just subordinate consciousness, it makes it entirely irrelevant and redundant…that is, impossible, and…that’s a problem.)

My point here is that postmodern determinism such as averred by atheistic and scientifically rooted philosophers proffers the idea of Existence and Illusion as metaphycial and epistemological primaries, respectively. And in both cases these primaries beg two questions which must be answered and then when answered undermine those primaries entirely. “Whom” and “What” cannot at root be products of Existence or Illusion. It’s actually the other way around.

Or you might say that if “Of what?” and “For whom?” have no answer then Existence and Illusion as anything but subjective assumptions are nullified. And if they have an answer then Illusion and Existence as anything but subjective assumptions are nullified.

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There Can Be No Such Thing as Gravity Qua Gravity, So What is it?

The following argument is based upon these assumptions, which I aver are all rationally defensible:

1. All that exists must be able to exist, which then supplants Existence with Ability as the metaphysical primary.

2. Gravity cannot possess any distinct existence. That is, there can be no such thing as gravity distinct or separate from the objects upon which it acts. Apart from these objects it has no relevance, which means it has no meaning, which means it cannot be defined as gravity.

3. There is no such thing as space qua space, because the distinction between objects cannot itself be a thing from which objects are also distinct. Therefore, there must be a different manifestation of distinction. I submit that gravity is this distinction.

In light of these, I submit the following about gravity:

Existence is ability to exist. Existence then is action, because ability must find rational expression as action. Action is always observed as relative movement. I therefore propose that gravity is, specifically, the expression of the ability to exist. Or perhaps better said, it is the action of existing…of existence observed  necessarily as an action.

Can You Solve the Metaphysical Paradox Endemic to Philosophy on the Whole?

The existence of A must necessarily be a corollary to the relativity of A to B.

That is:

A cannot be A unless it exists relative to something else…in this case B, because A in a vacuum of its own existential absolutism is infinitely A, and infinity cannot have a set value (or definition). So, it can be logically said that the existence of A is a direct function of the existence of B.  And yet, in order to be relative to B, A must, in fact, exist infinitely and absolutely as A…in order that it can be said that A is truly, itself, relative to B.

Good luck!!

(Part Two: Why UPB Self-Nullifies) The Multitudinous Problems with Secular Ethics: A critique of Universally Preferable Behavior

[I apologize in advance for the tedious and highly technical nature of the following article. Bear with me. There really isn’t an easy way to do this. Thanks.]

1. If UPB is simply a set of possible choices, but does NOT reference an absolute moral Standard which makes compliance with UPB not simply preferable, but necessary in order to avoid some kind of irreparable existential contradiction, which thus implies and necessitates some irreparable existential injury (however that is defined…if it even needs to be defined at all), then UPB cannot claim to be either universal nor preferable, since there is no fundamental existential difference between compliance and non-compliance. In which case, UPB self-nullifies.

2. If UPB IS considered an inexorable natural law–referencing itself as its own absolute moral Standard–to which the individual is obligated or face some form of irreparable existential injury (however that is defined…if it even needs to be defined at all) then UPB is not preferable, but necessary, and perfunctory, and it self-nullifies.

3. If UPB is a legal (as opposed to ethical or moral) Standard–that is, Law as defined by a legal Authority, like the State–then by definition the individual is legally obligated to comply, and non-compliance results in punishment which, though legal, is, for all practical purposes, existential in its effect, since the manifestation of the ownership of oneself–i.e. free will/choice–while under State sanction is impossible. And therefore, UPB is not preferable and therefore self-nullifies.

Now, to expand upon point number two; and the reason is because this argument is, as I observe, the primary argument utilized by apologists for secular ethics:

If UPB is considered merely a de facto parameter of (one’s) Existence–that is, the perfunctory behavior of (one’s) Existence which affirms that (one’s) Existence actually exists, then UPB is nullified. Meaning, if we use the argument that because we observe that species or the individuals of that species behave in ways which are consistent with survival and reproduction and then claim that this behavior is actually preferable…we’ve contradicted ourselves and shown that such behavior cannot possibly be preferable, let alone ethical, and is only universal in that it is simply a de facto function of Existence qua Existence. In other words, if we remove choice–moral agency–from ethics entirely, or make it purely a function of the laws of nature, then a choice is never actually chosen. However, removing choice contradict ethics as meaningful in any rational or practical way, because amoral ethics imply behavior which doesn’t make a distinction between good behavior or bad behavior. So…why would any given behavior be preferable? It wouldn’t.

Also, notice how in scientific terms, which are the secularist’s terms of epistemology, ALL action is merely “behavior”…”choice” as a vehicle is sophistically smuggled in later–a bromide meant for and used by the small minority of non-communist atheists as a nod to the non-aggression principle; but UPB pairs with the NAP like salad pairs with Guinness.

If we accept Existence as the Metaphysical Primary, and therefore objective (empirical) reality and natural law as its practical Ethical and Epistemological derivatives , then we must admit that one cannot act via his Existencee in a way which contradicts his Existence…so regardless of what one does, and therefore what one chooses, one must necessarily always be acting ethically. To claim that one can somehow violate the terms of his or someone else’s (absolute) Existence by Existence, itself, is a contradiction in terms. Therefore, if UPB is said to be an Ethic derived from Existence, it is impossible for one to violate it, since one cannot violate the very thing that makes all behavior–like the “violation” itself– ultimately possible.

On the other hand, if we were to place UPB outside of (one’s) Existence and then argue that, as an Ethic outside of Existence (which is its own giant fallacy, given that Existence is the Metaphysical Primary for all apologists for UPB, I think), failure to follow UPB somehow amounts to an Ethical, and therefore moral, violation, and therefore is evil, and therefore obliges men to “prefer” UPB,  then the individual–as a rank existant–could neither be the source nor the reference for UPB, which makes whatever the individual prefers, and thus ultimately chooses, entirely besides the point…since his choice and preference are a function of himself. This again, as I asserted above in point 3., relegates UPB to the status of a Legal Code–the Legal Law–which means that coercion by a legal Authority, not preference, is the only legitimate and rational means of fulfilling the Law.

Now, if we claim that (one’s) existence is not in fact absolute, but somehow transient–an effect and not a cause, as it were, or a function of some Absolute Cause outside of (one’s) existence, then we would have no logical reason to conclude that behavior which promotes one’s existence is preferable to behavior which does not. For (one’s) existence, being non-absolute, is no more valid a state of nature than is his non-existence. Non-existence, because existence is not absolute, does not violate the Absolute Cause (that of which (one’s) existence AND non-existence is a direct effect), and therefore it can be no more rationally nor morally preferable to behave in ways that promote existence–of either oneself or others–than to behave in ways that do not. And therefore by what basis can we argue that UPB is actually preferable at all? No basis.

Interestingly, I have noticed that those who promote Existence as the Metaphysical Primarily DO, irrationally, make the distinction between Existence, the Primary, and one’s individual existence–because they understand that individual existence necessarily incorporates consciousness, and therefore they reject it as having anything to do with Existence qua Existence, because consciousness they assert is not objective, because it’s not empirical. But you see as soon as one makes the distinction between conscious existence (consciousness) and Existence the Primary, then whatever the individual consciously prefers--and all preference is conscious by definition–is beside the point. When you reject consciousness as fundamental to Existence you necessarily reject choice. Which means that you reject choice as fundamentally meaningful, which not only wrecks UPB but wrecks morality entirely, and makes any discussion of Ethics pointless.  I submit, however, that if we oblige consciousness to rational consistency, which is entirely logical (and a separate article), then reason alone serves as a perfect and categorical guide to Ethical behavior, because it makes Truth actually and objectively possible.

Part three very soon.

(Part One: Introduction and Ironic Metaphysical Roots) The Multitudinous Problems with Secular Ethics: A critique of Universally Preferable Behavior

There’s no short way of doing this. At least not one that I prefer (see what I did there?), so I will just get to it. A while ago I was introduced to something called Universally Preferable Behavior (UPB). This, I understand, is more or less a formal apologetic of what is termed “secular ethics”. Which really is simply an Ethic derived from the metaphysics of Atheism (which are the metaphysics more or less of Aristotle…more on that later). There is no God to declare what is good behavior and what is evil behavior. Without such an arbiter of morality, it is assumed, there is no anchor for moral behavior.   Enter UPB stage left. UPB purports to fill the role of Arbiter, and hence the term “universal”. Which is an odd term when coupled with “preferable”. I understand that in the handbook of UPB some attempt is made to address this oxymoron, but the explanation left me pretty unsatisfied. It qualifies itself by claiming that behavior is only universal once a given objective has been defined. Like, IF I want to get to work on time, it is preferable that I drive, not walk. And within that context, it is universally preferable to drive and not walk. Of course the inconsistency is clear. Since the preferable behavior is contextual, it isn’t universal. It is only contextually universal…which is a contradiction in terms.

Here are some links that you can examine to give you some reference for this article. The first is the handbook for UPB (you may have to copy and paste this link into your search bar), by Stefan Molyneux, who purports to be the progenitor of UPB…I have some doubt about this, however. I think most of his apologetic for secular ethics has been around for some time. I could be wrong, and ultimately I don’t really care. Perhaps he coined the phrase and then added his own spin. Whatever. He can have the credit. It’s okay by me. The second source is a very condensed version of the basic assertions and conclusions of UPB. It gives you a good summary of what secular ethics is all about.

http://cdn.media.freedomainradio.com/feed/books/UPB/Universally_Preferable_Behaviour_UPB_by_Stefan_Molyneux_PDF.pdf

https://rudd-o.com/archives/the-twelve-principles-of-universally-preferable-behavior

I was tempted to ask my readers if they could spot the big problem right off the bat, but the more I examined UPB the more I realized that it was so terribly fraught with inconsistencies that this amounted to a trick question. It also makes it difficult, at least for my scatter-brain, to know where or how to begin, so I apologize in advance if this article seems somewhate disconnected. The more I wrote, the more I had to go back and add things to the margins of my notebook. So…I’m going to start and hope that some semblance of order reveals itself. In any case, all my points will here, somewhere. 🙂

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One of the first problems I noticed with UPB was that it doesn’t explain why preferential behavior is good behavior. That is, it doesn’t provide a convenient moral reference. This is a troubling and stark omission for a behavioral code which claims to be a universal Ethic. But I think I understand why the omission is there. A. Because it presumes “Objective Reality” as an ipso facto epistemological primary (that empiricism is proof of itself…which is a contradiction); and B. Because to include it highlights some serious inconsistencies with “Objective Reality”, which atheists and others, like those with Objectivist sympathies, don’t want to discuss (though they love to rant) and never resolve. Ever. And C. Because Atheism simply has no place for Good. It has an Ethic, but this is not the same thing. Behaving ethically does not necessarily equal behaving morally. And that’s the whole disaster of secular ethics in a nutshell. Not that religious ethics are any better. It’s just that they aren’t worse.

We understand that an Ethic gets its moral value from its foundational Metaphysic–metaphysics being the nature of what exists, and ethics being behavior that is ultimately consistent with the metaphysical primary, what I simply call the Metaphysic…and in between them is epistemology, which answers the question “What is Truth?” where Truth must be a necessary and ipso facto derivative of the the given Metaphysic. For example, Aristotelian philosophy essentially assumes that the Metaphysic is Existence, and its Epistemology thus is Objective Reality; it’s Ethic then is behavior which affirms the existence of Objective Reality–and of course one very common behavior is known as “being atheist”…and “being smug” is usually a corollary to this.  Unfortunately Aristotelian philosophy implies that Objective Reality is utterly empirical, which it’s not, and cannot be–which is why I respectfully reject Aristotle’s philosophy–and this presents a big problem for UPB because it implicitly relies upon the Aristotelian Metaphysic for its apologetics.

UPB seems pretty clearly to imply that the individual is the moral reference. That is, that UPB is “good”, or really, ethical, because it serves and affirms the individual. Unfortunately, while this sounds “so far so good”, this is as far as any semblance of rational consistency goes…at least for anyone who then has the intellectual foresight to ask the question thus begged: What is the individual? Or asked another way, what is the root nature of an individual’s “individual–ness”? (What is the nature of “I”?) This question naturally brings us to metaphysics, where atheism–remember, UPB’s roots are fundamentally atheistic–relies upon “Objective Reality”, which itself relies upon Scientific Determinism…which ends up being what is really meant by “Existence”. Scientific Determinism is the causal Platonic offspring of Science…the “why” to science’s “how”. Which is pretty ironic given how atheists love to name drop Aristotle as the philosophical father of their ideology. Ever since science decided to masquerade as philosophy and people decided to worship at the feet of lab-coated priests, we’ve gotten Scientific Deteminism as the Great Transcedant Cause in the Sky. Which is exactly like Divine Determinism. Oh, how the rivers of irony flow deep and thick and wide ’round here.

Part two real soon.

 

The Self: Addressing some criticism

Criticism: That I advocate “the Infinite Self” as the metaphysical primary.

As I stated in my last article, and in many other articles and comments as well, I advocate Ability as the metaphysical primary. I do, however, understand why some get confused (and I admit I wish I could make my ideas a little more easily grasped) because I do often make reference to the Self as a very important part of rational metaphysics. Metaphysics begins with a primary, which implies several necessary foundational corollaries until we run into epistemology. The Self is one of these foundational corollaries. Well…I consider the Self to be in some sense the bridge between metaphysics and epistemology.

In brief summary, the way I describe my metaphysics are as follows:

Ability implies action; action implies relativity (movement is relative); relativity implies conceptualization (defining what exactly is moving relatively). Keep in mind that this is not a chain of causes and consequences. “Implies” is not “equals”, so to speak. The primary, Ability, includes all of these corallaries within its foundational essence. Now, note that my metaphysics do not allow for any “particulars” in the concrete sense…that tangibility is some how actual–that its a thing that is a thing; or tangibility qua tangibility. This is intentional. I freely admit that I don’t view reality as consisting of concretes and abstractions. But rather, specifics and abstractions; or better said, material concepts and abstract concepts. There is a reason for this, which I refer to as the “Parts Paradox”, but I will get into that a little later.

And here is where the Self comes in. You see, in order to qualify and quantify relative movement via conceptualization, there must be a reference; and so the “existential constant”, you might say, is the Self.  You qua You. At least, as far as metaphysics go. Epistemologically the Self is you as body. As flesh and blood. As a collection of parts. But the reason we refer to ourselves as an “I” and not as an “us” is because we all understand, as a very function of what makes us US, that we are not simply a body; that we are a frame of reference.

For what?

For everything.

Absent You, you have no means by which you can know, or assert, or BE anything. This very fact, that “existence” ceases to EXIST in any way absent You, not as a body but as a Self–and absolutely so–is proof of the constant nature of You. As soon as someone says “there is existence outside of me” they have contradicted themselves. Because they cannot claim “existence” whilst denying the ONLY  reference by which they can speak of it in the first place.

Some people mistake this as a “Primacy of Consciousness” metaphysics. But what it really is is an acknowledgement of the most self-evident of all Truths: That everything you say and do depends on you being absolutely You. That you must and do interpret everything from the Constant Self.  And even if the the Self–of You qua You–was merely transient, it wouldn’t matter. Whatever is “before” you or “after” you is not something you, being wholly YOU, can incorporate ontologically. The “transient” YOU is bookended by blanks. It doesn’t matter what philosophical sophism you attempt to fill those blanks with, the fact is that you are an Absolutet Constant in your existence, whether choose to accept it or not.

So, here’s my metaphycial construct with this in mind:

Ability–Action–Relativity–Conceptualization–Constant

Next, Causality, the rational failure of “Existence exists”, Action defining objects as opposed to the other way around, and Particulars–the Parts Paradox.

How Aristotle is Both Right and Wrong About “A is A”

One may understandably take issue with my maxim that A is only A relative to B…because that which does not exist relative to anything else cannot be compared, and without comparison there is no definition, so you can’t claim that it actually exists. In other words, you cannot say what A is unless you can say what it is NOT. Making what A is NOT (e.g. B) an existential requirement for A, making A’s existence inexorably bound to B’s. This wrecks any distinction between A and B with respect to existence as a metaphysical primary. Meaning, existence implies no actual distinction between those things which are said to exist. Which destroys A and B entirely at the level of their root existence. This truth does not make me a subjectivist or proponent of consciousness as a primary. It merely makes me perceptive.

Now, having said that, this is correct in a sense:  that my point above does not, itself, provide for the full reconciliation of the existential paradox: Achieving a plurality of existence from a single metaphysical primary.  How are there distinct objects, relating to one another in an identical and absolute metaphysical context…that is, being direct functions of the same singular metaphysical root, and yet also being entirely and rationally distinct?

However, I submit that being correct here: That A must actually be A, utterly and distinctly so, if we shall assert that it is NOT B–does not make me wrong here: That A cannot in fact be A absent the relative existence of B (because that which cannot be compared cannot be defined; and that which cannot be defined cannot be said to exist). This makes A as much a function of B as it makes A utterly distinct from B.

The failure of Aristotelian apologists to observe and address this paradox is (partly) why Aristotelian metaphysics have ultimately lead nowhere except a repeat of the historic cycle of individuals conceding to collectivist ideologies, creating tyrannical states which eventually implode, killing millions in the process, with the survivors then rising from the ashes only to start the whole nightmare over again.

That A must be A (in an appeal to Aristotle) as a prerequisite for relatively comparing it to B does not in fact disprove the that A cannot in fact be A unless it is relatively compared to B.

It’s a chicken-and–egg type deal. Aristotelian metaphysics rest essentially upon one half of the paradox, and thus at best they tell only half the story.

The sum and substance of my journey into metaphysics has been:

A. to observe the aforementioned metaphysical paradox and the necessary resultant rational and practical insufficiencies of both Primacy of Existence and Primacy of Consciousness metaphysical models, and…

B. to offer a solution to the paradox in the form of a new, more effective primary: Ability.

A greater examination of that, and various related topics, will be undertaken in subsequent articles.

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

Breaking Down the Five Primaries: 1. Metaphysics: ABILITY

Metaphysics:

ABILITY

The root of (object) X’s causing or being caused upon is its Ability to exist. That is, the Ability of X to be what it is the the irreducible reason it can cause anything or be caused upon.

The apple falls from the tree because it is Able to be caused upon by gravity, and this because it is Able to be “apple”. The apple divots the soft ground because it is Able to carry the velocity necessary to do so, and this because it is Able to be “apple”. 

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.

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