Tag Archives: Aristotle

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.

“Existence Exists”: The axiom which fails its own assertion, and why the “Law of Identity” and “Law of Non-Contradiction” collectivize reality, and thus do NOT identify and DO contradict

A simple Google search using this criteria “existence exists” yielded this result at the top of the page, from Importance of Philosophy.com.

“Existence exists is an axiom which states that there is something, as opposed to nothing.  At the core of every thought is the observation that “I am aware of something”.  The very fact that one is aware of something is the proof that something in some form exists–that existence exists–existence being all that which exists.  Also, to grasp the thought, “I am aware of something” you must be conscious.  Existence is axiomatic because it is necessary for all knowledge and it cannot be denied without conceding its truth.  To deny existence is to say that something doesn’t exist.  A denial of existence is only possible if existence exists.

To exist, an existent (an entity that exists) must have a particular identity.  A thing cannot exist without existing as something, otherwise it would be nothing and it would not exist.  In the statement “something exists”, the something refers to the axiom of identity and the exists  refers to the axiom of existence.  They cannot be separated and are like two sides of the same coin or two ways of understanding the same axiom.”

At first cursory glance, this notion of “existence exists” is rock solid.  So much so that scarcely anyone tries to disprove it, let alone succeeds.  The question begged then is: If this metaphysical axiom is so thoroughly rational, and so thoroughly complete, why has its effects not been felt more distinctly (if at all) upon the world today, in all aspects of man’s life, and particularly  his ethics and his politics?  Why does the world seem to slide faster and faster with each passing moment into the abyss of collectivist ideologies which demand a categorical refutation of such a metaphysic, whereby nothing at all can be said to exist except it be thus declared by a few men who have been “called”, somehow, to lead the unenlightened (un-elected) masses into right thinking and behavior by appealing not to reason, not to notions of “existence”, but to their right to possess a monopoly of violence, granted them via their authority as a function of their priestly position? For it seems that at the root of every major political, social, or economical school of thought today is the idea that the human individual belongs first to some collective–an abstraction–by which he obtains his identity:  the Race, the Religion (the Saved, the Called), the Sovereign Will, the Laws of Nature, the Party, the [select your flavor of socio-economic category], the Nation, the Gang, the Club…etc., etc.  You get the idea.

For truly if man is first and foremost his collective then he cannot ever really consider himself apart from it.  For the collective (or in actuality, those who are somehow infused with the “enlightenment” of the abstraction in order that they may speak for it, as the mediator between the Ideal and the Masses) is in charge of not only what man does but who he is, and therefore, of what he thinks.  Which means the individual cannot have a unique and distinct existence, which means that he cannot claim that any particular thing exists, because he cannot possibly be in the epistemological place to know, having no unique SELF by which to reference the definition of what it is being claimed to exist. In such a collectivist metaphysic then, it is impossible to make the claim that “existence exists” because “existence” is the sole jurisdiction of an abstraction of which man the individual can have nothing to do.  Because there is really no such thing as “man” proper, himself.

Keeping that in mind, to claim that existence exists we must proclaim that man, the individual, is capable of apprehending that which is said to exist, in and of itself, because he, himself, has his own distinct existence.  So, by this, he is in a position to know.  Since he IS, he can know his environment and all the things in it, by the context of him SELF, which is not collective, but is, in fact, distinct and singular.

In short, if we say “existence exists” we must concede that each individual possesses, and is sufficiently capable of, his own autonomous existence and therefore cannot first and foremost be the extension of a collective which functions by the “enlightenment” of a select ecclesiasty on behalf of the abstract Ideal which is said to be the source of all reality.

Therefore, it would seem, at least if you take the Aristotellian’s and Objectivist’s and Empricist’s word for it, that existence exists = individual identity = the individual as the moral and rational reference.  And this sounds very good, and indeed, the conclusion that the Self of the individual is the Standard of Truth and thus Morality is the only rationally consistent metaphysical, epistemological, and moral conclusion.

So…er…why is this not the overwhelmingly prevailing metaphysic today?  Why, if “existence exists” is so gosh darn impenetrable and flawlessly cohesive an absolute, as the smug little blurb posted above implies, do so many people obviously reject it?  Are they all imbeciles?  Are they all indoctrinated or programmed by their Marxists handlers?  Are they all willfully depraved?  Are they too committed to the lie? Do they have too much of their life’s blood at stake in the Marxist game to concede the genius and irrefutable reasoning of Aristotle and all his progenies?

Or…could it be something else?

Could it be that the assumption that “existence exists” is woefully inadequate at best as a metaphysical axiom?  Could it be that for years that what has been thought to be the final word on metaphysical truth is actually not, in fact, the final word.  Or, even worse, perhaps is fundamentally an appeal to the metaphysical “reality” of abstract Ideals in disguise, which demands a collectivist existence for each and every one of us and thus dooms us to a life of exploitation and annihilation?

For me, I aver that it is this last one.  That “existence exists”, because it groups all things into a fundamental abstract category of “existence”, must itself be inadequate when it comes to defining the very “things” it claims exist.

Look at it this way:

According to the notion that “existence exists”, what defines things is their collective, not individual, existence. However, notice that the notion also appeals to distinct or individual identity.  This poses a problem because it incorporates a fundamental contradiction.

You see, what exists individually, if it truly has a “nature” or “identity” which is fundamentally distinct from all other things, cannot actually co-exist with those other things unless its “existence” ultimately subordinates said nature/identity.  And thus the contradiction is this: A thing cannot exist absolutely distinct from other things by its “nature” and yet at the same time posses absolutely equal and indistinguishable “existence” as that of all other things which are said to exist.  In such a case, we are forced to somehow reconcile distinction and inclusion; collective existence with singular identity within a given context: the object in question.  This…just doesn’t work.  A is A, so goes the claim.  However A cannot be utterly A if A shares existence collectively with B, C, D, and so on.  And if it doesn’t share its existence…meaning if its existence is not fundamentally identical, and thus fundamentally indistinct, from all other objects then the claim that existence exists cannot be universal to all objects.  Since all objects only possess existence as a function of their own distinct nature, they cannot actually co-exist since the distinction is absolute.  In which case, existence as an axiom is impossible.  However, if the distinction of identity is subordinated to collective existence, then A is only A subjectively so; meaning A cannot be A unless A is also B, C, D and so on, inexorably connected by collective, indistinguishable existence.

And this is what I mean when I say that the metaphysic of “existence” is simply inadequate, and that’s being kind.  In its attempt to define existence by appealing to fundamental distinctions of nature it commits a moral logically fallacy…an irreparable contradiction in terms which renders the metaphysic a complete failure.  Certainly, it is in no way an axiom.  For any idea which relies upon contradiction in order to validate itself as “true” becomes irrelevant, and therefore, not true by definition.  For that which is utterly irrelevant (meaning it cannot possess even a contextual relevancy) cannot have any objective purpose in reality or in actuality.   Even according to the Aristotelian standards upon which it is based the idea “existence exists” is a failure.

Laws of Identity and Non-Contradiction are Not Compatible with the Metaphysic of Existence:

Once one claims “existence”, one must answer the question “what exists?”  And as soon as the that question enters into the equation, the notion of existence as the irreducible metaphysic collapses.  Because what is distinct, absolutely, by individual “identity”, cannot be integrated by absolute collective “existence”.  The metaphysic thus fails Aristotle’s Law of both Identity AND Non-Contradiction.  It fails the law of Identity because the object which is collective by its existence must be equal and indistinguishable from all other objects in order for existential interaction and integration to occur, and therefore it can have no individual or distinct identity, because it is always and fundamentally sharing the collective existence.  Further, it fails the law of Non-Contradiction on both the ontological and semantic levels.  An object is not ontologically distinct if it shares existence; and it is not semantically distinct if it is conceptually X because it is NOT Y.  Meaning, an object, like a rock, cannot be defined as a rock in a vacuum of itself.  A rock, in a vacuum, has no relevant nature…no relevant identity.  It becomes infinitely a rock, in which case, “rock-ness” is meaningless.  Infinite rock is functionally equal to NO or ZERO rock.  A rock is only relevantly, and thus rationally and truthfully, a rock if it can be juxtaposed to something which is NOT a rock:  This is a rock: that is a sandwich.  Only in this context can a thing’s nature…a thing’s identity, be relevant and therefore true.

So, in essence, “existence exists” is really a collectivist platitude, which demands that all things which are said to individually exist ultimately share, collectively, both existence and identity. Which means that fundamentally there is no such actual thing as either.

And this is why the metaphysic of “existence” has failed, is failing, and will always fail.  It fails the very test of its own assertion.  That is, it claims one thing but demands something else.  It claims the truth of the individual but demands obedience to the collective.