Category Archives: Objective Relativity

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!!

Advertisements

(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. 🙂

*

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.

*

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.

🍀

There is No Such Thing as Existential Plurality, There is Only Corollary: A Foundational Pillar of What I Call Objective Relativity

There is no such thing as plurality, only corollary.

This is a maxim which, though it may appear simple, if not somewhat abstruse, is predicated upon hours and hours of thought and discursive logic. I am arguing from several different angles here, all of them equally effective in proving the maxim, I think.

1.

The non-existence of space. That is, I reject the idea that a vacuum of things (the absence of that which IS) is a thing in and of itself. That which is the absence of all that exists cannot, by necessity AND by definition, itself exist.  Of course, the idea of plurality of existence depends upon the notion that there is a physical separation of objects: that A is literally distinct from B, and this because of the actual presence of absence (contradiction alert) between them. This is an utterly irrational assertion and conclusion. If space is a thing, then what, for instance, is between space and objects A and B? Space, being itself an object, would need to be absolutely distinct from A and B, as A and B are absolutely distinct from each other. So now, instead of a plurality of existence between objects A and B, you have a plurality of existence  betweem objects A and B and space–let’s call space, C. Which means that now you must insert object D, which is the space between A and C and, B and C. Which means that now you must introduce object E, which is the space between A and C and D; and B and C and D. And this goes on indefinitely. Once the distinction–the space–between A and B becomes itself its own existent object, you have created an infinite number of “spaces”  between objects. Thus, to define plurality this way makes any existential relationship–any actual interaction between A and B–impossible…because they have become INFINITELY distinct. The fact that they exist infinitely distinct from one another means that their existence cannot accommodate or integrate the existence of any other object. They are completely defined by the infinity of their absolutely distinct existence. Thus, things become merely distinction itself. And distinction, as I’ve already explained, is not a thing itself, but the absence of things.

2.

A and B relate relatively to one another. At no point, except conceptually, does either object form the objective reference of the relationship. Depending upon the needs and frame of reference of the conceptualizing agent (the observer), either A is the reference OR B is the reference. In and of themselves, A and B are existentially and thus relationally absolutely identical. There is NO objective distinction, and thus no definition, possible unless the conceptualizing agent is there to provide the conceptual context whereby A or B can, at any given moment, become the reference for the relative relationship.  What this means is that the idea of a literal distinction between objects A and B is impossible, because that kind of distinction, being wholly relative, is, in and of itself, impossible to define. Only the conceptualizing agent can provide the context whereby any relationship, and thus any true, relevant, and therefore actual distinction, is possible.

3.

Number two being the case, there can be no actual distinction absent the observation of the conceptualizing agent. Observation of a thing, however, in order to produce a concept (by which the observer is known to actually observe someTHING), requires a relative relationship between A and B. But a relative relationship requires relatively existing objects…and note the plural form of that word.  Relativity between objects demands that there can be no SINGULAR object which exists in and of itself. For without a relative relationship, which requires two or more objects, no object can be defined; for EVERY object which is said to be this or that can only be defined according to how it RELATIVELY relates to another object (or other objects). This makes literal, physical plurality impossible. For it is not the DISTINCTION between A and B which ultimately creates their definitions, but the fact that they are existential COROLLARIES. That is, the existence of A inexorably demands the corollary existence of B. There is no A without its corollary B, and vice versa. I am not saying A is B, I am saying they are corollaries.  I am saying that their distinction is one of utterly relative relationship, resulting in the concept, by the observer, which becomes A, and the concept which becomes B.

🍀

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

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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?

*

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.

*

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?

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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

*

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?

*

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?

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.