Category Archives: Philosophy

What Philosophy Is

By Jonathan Awesome 
There is a certain kind of structure to knowledge. Some facts must be understood in some form before others can be fully understood. The most fundamental knowledge is the nature of existence and of man; philosophical knowledge. Philosophy is the base of the rest of man’s knowledge. And within philosophy there are several branches which are also grasped hierarchically, the higher level resting on the more fundamental. 

Before you set out to know anything else with certainty you must first know somethings, on some level, about your own mind and how it obtains information; how to establish certainty and obtain knowledge. The philosopher Ayn Rand defined Epistemology, in her groundbreaking book on the subject, as “a science devoted to the discovery of the proper methods of acquiring and validating knowledge.” This is the most fundamental branch of philosophy from the perspective of the obtainment of knowledge. 

To discover the facts of reality you must also know somethings, on some level, about the basic nature of reality. The science that studies this sets the terms for all other sciences, including epistemology, and all other knowledge. Metaphysics is fundamental from a different perspective in that reality would still exist if there were no consciousness to perceive it. The basic facts of reality are understood implicitly before you can understand how to learn any facts. Once you grasp some method of discovering facts you can then turn that method on this implicitly understood information and make your understanding of it explicit. 

Once you have established what kind of world you live in and what kind of entity you are you can then consider how you should act and why. The how is the science of ethics, the why is meta-ethics. Ethics  gives us a set of principles to guild our actions. Meta-ethics explains why we need a code of values and how we can establish one by the proper method of acquiring any knowledge. Politics is an application  of ethical principles on a social scale. It defines the purpose of a government and explores a proper government’s limitations and sets the terms for the actions it may take. It also deals with such questions as why a government is needed at all. 

Based also on ethics, epistemology and, more than either of these, metaphysics is the science that studies the nature of art and the standards by which to judge it. The broader of the two branches of philosophy which depend on the three more basic branches is aesthetics. 

These are the five branches of philosophy.

Report This Post

On Metaphysics

By Jonathan Awesome
Metaphysics is not the nonsense that the modern mystics have hijacked the word for. It is a science. Metaphysics is the most fundamental of all sciences because its subject of study is that which is true of all things. When we study metaphysics we look at the widest possible facts. As an illustration of this consider what can be said of everything that exists as such; that it exists. And what can be said of all things as such; that they are things, that they have a specific identity. And the fact that you are aware of the existence of existence and of the fact that a thing is the thing that it is leads you to another observation; that you are aware, that you have some form of consciousness.

These observations are implied by all other statements. Any coherent statement rests on the concepts of existence, identity and consciousness. For example, existence because to say something about something real is to imply that it, the person speaking and any intended listener exists. When discussing things that aren’t real (fiction, fantasy and the like) you are still employing the concept of existence. The very concept of unreal things rests on a contrast to the real. Identity because the words you use are intended to refer to specific concepts and not others. And consciousness because that you are speaking implies that you are aware of the subject and whatever you are predicating of it and that any intended listener will also be aware of the content of your statement. 

These three concepts are axiomatic concepts. They are the irreducible and self evident foundation of all other knowledge. They don’t have to be consciously employed or even identified for someone to gain further knowledge, but these concepts do have to be formed and held on some level, be it subconscious and implicit. Any attempt to refute them is self refuting; such an attempt has to imply them while trying to disprove them. 

What it means to exist is self evident and requires little explanation. Existence refer to two things; the state of existing and as synonyms with the words universe (when used properly) or reality, the totality of all things that exist. Ayn Rand formulated the formal axiom “Existence exists” meaning, of course, that the totality of all things possess the state of existence. But what is less obvious is that existence is identity. To exist is to be, but to be is to be something. What a thing is is its identity, its nature, the sum of all of its attributes. And to be at all is to have some attributes, a nature, an identity. Existence and identity are the same phenomena looked at from different perspectives; identity is a corollary or existence. 

The axiom of identity is classically formulated as “A is A” where A stands for anything. A thing is the thing that it is, it has the attributes that it has, it can do what it can do and only what it can do. All things are limited by their nature. Their attributes allow them only so many possible potentialities. A thing acting against its nature is a thing not being its self. But because a thing is what it is this is impossible, it is a contradiction. A thing cannot be both its self and not its self at the same time and in the same respect. A thing cannot be both A and not A. This is a corollary of the law of identity, this is the law of non-contradiction. This law serves as a link between metaphysics and epistemology. Also implied in all of this is that a thing is either A or not-A. There is no middle between possessing an attribute and not possessing it. To possess an attribute to a lesser degree is still to possess it. This is the law of excluded middle. 

Identity applied to actions is the law of causality. Every action is determined by the nature of the entities acting. There can be no such thing as actions apart from entities which act. The way in which a thing acts is necessitated and limited by the kind of thing that it is. There can be no actions without causes. Such would be things acting apart from their nature. An action without a cause is then a contradiction, because it is a thing not being the thing that it is. 

“Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification.” Consciousness is “the faculty of perceiving that which exists.” To be aware of something requires some form of perception. A tree is not conscious a worm is; a worm can experience sensations. It is aware that something is stimulating its senses. The sensation level alone is the primary level of consciousness, because sensations alone are the primary stuff of awareness. Higher level animals possess the ability to integrate and retain their sensations in the form of percepts. Percepts mean the difference between a hail of disconnected sensations which are forgotten as soon as the stimuli is no longer present and a group of sensations held in awareness and integrated into the awareness of an entity. Because you can form percepts you are aware of a computer screen and not merely a bombardment of unintelligible light waves, though with percepts alone you would not know it as a monitor only as one particular thing apart from other things. We as human beings can condense and integrate our percepts into concepts. We see it as a kind of thing and symbolize that kind of thing with a word. But not for our senses we would not be conscious. 

All claims of knowledge must rest on the perception of our senses or they do not have a right to the claim. A mind devoid of content is not a consciousness. Or, as Leonard Peikoff put it, “To be conscious is to be conscious of something.” The only source of such content, our awareness of that “something” is the senses. We can expand our knowledge by isolating attributes of a given entity into abstractions and attributes of those abstractions into further abstractions but we could not reach this kind of mental content without first experiencing the original entity through our senses. 

Any attempt to refute the validity of the senses must ultimately rest on
them to be itself valid. But, its validity resting on what it proposes to refute, the truth of such a statement would invalidate the statement. Any “evidence” of the invalidity of the senses must reduce to the senses by the nature of consciousness and thus could not be presented as evidence. This serves to show the axiomatic nature of the validity of the senses. 

Because of their place as the foundation of knowledge and the fact of their self evidence the basic philosophical axioms are properly taken as the standard of truth. Anyone that denies them explicitly or by implication is necessarily wrong. To prove something is to show that the subject of a statement exists with the attribute predicated of it as part of its identity. To disprove anything is to show that the predicated attribute is not a part of the subject’s identity. 

Report This Post

Objective Ethics; A Brief Summery

By Jonathan Awesome
Ethics is a code of values to guide our actions. What are values and why should we have a code of them? To value something is to act to obtain or keep it. For something to be good, bad, right, wrong or whatever; for it to be a value or a disvalue is for it to be so to someone and for something. The existence of a value presupposes something which can act to gain or keep something in the face of an alternative. So it also presupposes some alternative. No alternative or goal directed agent means no value and no goal.   

“There is only one fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or nonexistence—and it pertains to a single class of entities: to living organisms. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional, the existence of life is not: it depends on a specific course of action. Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist. It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it dies; its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence. It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil.” -Ayn Rand

A living thing is the only thing to which values are possible. The alternative it faces is remaining alive or death. This alternative is fundamental. It underlies all others. To pursue any other goal one must first obtain what it must to remain living. 

For a human being, acting be reason and not instinct, actions and goals must be chosen. Man does not pursue his values like animals, automatically. He can choose to pursue things which are disadvantages to his fundamental goal. He can actively work to do things which inhibit his ability to live. Or he can outright kill himself purposefully. Because he acts by reason he needs principles to guide his actions. He needs an explicit understanding of what improves his ability to live and what hinders it. He needs an understanding of the abstract kinds of things which are good and bad for him. If a person wishes to live and live well he needs a rational ethics.

If someone is to remain alive he ought to pursue certain goals.

Life is the standard of value for anything living. What keeps a thing alive is the good, for it. Plants must pursue sunlight, water, nutrients etc. These are it’s means of survival. Animals need food, water, shelter from the elements. They survive by means of percepts, instincts, memorized behaviors, etc to gain what they need to live. If a person wishes to live they must act also in accordance with their means of survival. And for a human being this means in accordance with reason. Rationality is man’s basic means of survival. 

Man must think, and think clearly, to obtain the things he needs to remain alive. The rational then is the good. Rationality requires a refusal to fake reality, this means it requires honesty. His life requires material means, he must think and then act on his thoughts to produce them. He must be productive. Etc. Abstract values, moral principles, implied by man’s basic means of survival to guide his actions. The standard again is that which aids life which means that which is rational. 

Lying is bad under normal circumstances; for various reasons it is against your interests. But in a circumstance where you must lie to protect a value, to keep what is yours by right, from someone who is, in the act of wronging you, himself faking reality: In such a case it become in your interest, for your life instead of against it, to lie. Like the example of a man that is wielding a weapon, is trying to kill your wife and asking where she is. Clearly a lie is what is moral. 

It is bad to kill people, normally. When they become a threat to your life or someone else’s this changes. In the above example this could be a better choice than the lie if your wife is a value. 

This is just a quick overview. It is Ayn Rand’s revolutionary arguments as I understand them. For a fuller understanding see: Viable Values, Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics; The Virtuous Egoist (both by Tara Smith), The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand, Loving Life by Craig Biddle, Objectivism In One Lesson by Bernstein and/or Objectivism The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Probably forgetting something but any of those should work. 

Report This Post


By Jonathan Awesome


When a person says he has faith in something like the virgin birth of Jesus or the existence of God; he means he accepts ideas without any evidence. When they make the claim that people have faith in some scientific theory or objective philosophical idea they merely mean that people are confident about the truth of that idea. When people use the word faith they are often referring to two separate things, authentic faith and confidence. 

Faith may be one form of confidence. But not all confidence is faith. When the word faith is used to refer to belief in probability or objective certainty rather than certainty without justification it is used that way for a reason. Belief in some level of probability (even up to complete certainty), confidence, can be justified. It may be based on clear reasoning from all the available evidence. Belief without or against evidence cannot be justified. It is self deception (for anyone above the mental level of a child) and the most prevalent form of irrationality. While science and philosophy give us the understanding of reality we need to live and live well; faith kicks reality off to the side as irrelevant and motivates men to act against its requirements (the requirements of their lives) which it leaves unrecognized and unmet. For this reason authentic faith is evil, is anti-human life. The word is used in this way to drag the good down to the level of evil or to elevate the evil to the level of the good through confusion and word games. This is an instance of what is called a package deal. 

“’Package-dealing’ is the fallacy of failing to discriminate crucial differences. It consists of treating together, as parts of a single conceptual whole or ‘package,’ elements which differ essentially in nature, truth-status, importance or value.” -Ayn Rand

Faith and confidence are two very different things. To use the first to refer to the later is an attempt to force the possible legitimacy of the later on to the first or worse, to slop the illegitimacy of the faith onto confidence. They do it to rationalize their own dishonest approach to ideas in their own minds and the minds of their victims or to demoralize their epistemological enemies. To say to science and rational thought more broadly “You do it too! I might have faith in my nonsensical ideas but you have ‘faith’ in your ideas too!” But to attempt to justify ones actions by labeling what someone else does with the same word you use to refer to your own corrupt actions does not change the facts. To disentangle this form of deception one need only ask “What is meant by the word in each case? Doesn’t the kind of ‘faith’ I have differ in some important way from the faith of a mystic?” 

There is no authentic faith involved in science or philosophy qua philosophy. Although religion and philosophy can be mixed together in the same mind or system; philosophy is essentially an attempt to find natural explanations for thing. Looking at reality and drawing rational conclusions from what you see is not the equivalent of accepting ideas about a super-nature. Religion is essentially a belief in something supernatural without or against any evidence. Belief without or against any evidence is what faith is. This is what differentiates the concept of faith from all other concepts. Of all the possible methods of accepting an idea this is the one that lacks concern for evidence. We already have a perfectly good word to refer to confidence which doesn’t create any confusion: the word confidence. Science and proper philosophy are diametrically opposed to religion and faith. In terms of everything essential they are antithetical. 

The opposite of faith is reason from observation. Reason, not faith, is employed in science and proper philosophy. “Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses.” It is by the method of logic applied to observation that we actually know anything. It is by this method that living is possible to us. To use the word faith in such away as to lump these two extremely different things together is an epistemological crime. The evil is not the good nor is the good the evil. Your life and flourishing are dependent on one and subverted and frustrated by the other. Confidence is not faith. 

Report This Post

Objectivity and Error In The Forms of Awareness


By Jonathan Awesome


No one would say that natural selection can err. It is an unconscious, non-volitional and automatic causal mechanism. It is a simple action/reaction relationship. The same things are true of the senses and of the parts of the brain involved in perception.


An animal, a non-conceptual, non-volitional organism on the perceptual level of awareness acts; as its nature dictates, as it must, as natural selection has programed it to. It simply interacts with some stimuli and automatically responds. An action may fail to result in its goal (e.g. it may not result in a benefit to the organism which caused it to be naturally selected as characteristic of the organism) but this is not an error. To take an example from Dr. Binswanger (as I recall it), a duck landing on a road as if it were water is not the duck thinking the road is water, the duck does not think. It simply reacts to certain stimuli as programmed. It has not ‘mis-perceived’ one thing as another. It reacted to signals from some source other than the usual one with different results and thus acted inappropriately but not erroneously, as there was no mistake involved.


Error becomes possible when volition is introduced. This means also when conceptual integration becomes a factor. When conceptual integration, thinking, judgment takes place choice is involved. This is now the realm of the non-automatic and optional. We can choose one over others and we can now be wrong. It is only to a human being, by virtue of and by means of our unique faculties, that error is possible. Those faculties and processes which we share with other animals are independent of this. When can choose to focus on or think about what we perceive. But beyond actively blocking out certain stimuli we cannot choose what or how we perceive.


This, fallibility, is also where and why the subjective/objective distinction becomes possible and necessary. Because error and distortion are possible to the mental faculties involving volition and conceptual integration we need to differentiate things which are depend on them apart from reality from things based on reality. The subjective is the mind dependent (which does not mean brain dependent) where mind refers to the part of the brain which can judge and thus can err (the conscious and consciously programmed subconscious). The objective is that which is based on reality apart from judgment which are not thus based themselves. Were the distinction otherwise it would be useless. We condemn a statement as subjective because what is mind dependent does not necessarily reflect reality, because someones judgments may be wrong. An opinion can be wrong because it is based on subjective judgment and not reality. For this reason we distinguish opinion from fact.


The fallibility of our rational capacity is also what makes the application of principles based on observation (logic) necessary to our thinking for us to have our thought reflect reality, for them to be objective. The infallible nature of perception (as pre-volitional and pre-conceptual) and our ability to reduce our thoughts to it via implication and inference is what makes objective reasoning possible.


So as the sense organs, perception and even the parts of the mind involved in perception are all mere causal mechanisms and devoid of influence from nonobjective judgments and thus the possibility of error they are all then objective and necessarily reflect reality. And even though the possibility of error is still present, even judgment (thanks to logic and reduction to perception) can be objective.

Report This Post

On Man’s Ability To Be Rational and The Possibility of Knowledge

<meta content=" 2.0 (Win32)" name="GENERATOR" /><meta content="20090203;293483" name="CREATED" /><meta content="20090203;463572" name="CHANGED" /></p> <style> <!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style> <p><meta content="text/html; charset=utf-8" http-equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" /><title /><meta content=" 2.0 (Win32)" name="GENERATOR" /><meta content="20090203;293483" name="CREATED" /><meta content="20090203;463572" name="CHANGED" /></p> <style> <!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style> <p>By Jonathan Awesome</p> <p>It is said that the sense can distort reality. The senses do nothing but react to stimuli, they are not capable of error. They are causal mechanisms which allow you to know reality by their interactions with parts of it. Misinterpretation of what your sense tell you is possible, but the only way to resolve or discover such errors in interpretation is by collecting more perceptual data. That we can reason is what makes us capable of mistakes but it also makes us capable of an enormous amount of knowledge. The sense are not flawed but the proper method of reasoning must be employed in interpreting what they give us.</p> <p>The fact of qualia has been brought up to suggest that the mind may work differently for different people and that this may cause them to reach different conclusions. We all have the same basic mechanism of consciousness, the same kind of brain, so we should all have nearly the same form of consciousness. As an illustration of this; all of a given make of car have the same basic mechanisms of energy production and use, thus they all perform in the same ways. Nearly identical physical natures result in nearly identical processes. We can’t know exactly what it is like to be conscious for someone else because we cannot experience awareness through them introspectively. But we do know that the mechanisms involved are the same and can draw the conclusion that the processes are the same extrospectively.</p> <p>Now, there are two meaning of the word rational. In one sense it means that we are capable of reason. This we know introspectively by doing such things as considering this issue. This is the sense in which humans (leaving aside those with brain damage, etc) are all rational. The second meaning is the more common: to be rational is to employ reason properly, actively and consistently. To employ reason properly means to do it in such a way as to reflect reality in our conclusions.</p> <p>Because the senses give us the nature of reality (through interacting with it) and because they are our only direct connection to reality they must be our starting point in reasoning if we are to be rational. This much is clearly possible to us, to think beginning with our perception, what we can observe. We can be objective and objectivity is a requirement of rationality. But we must also avoid errors in thinking because clearly errors are possible in reasoning as honest people do sometimes reach different conclusions. This is what logic is for.</p> <p>Logic is a method of reasoning that insures (when properly employed) that what we conclude is consistent with what we began with in reasoning. We can observe in all things that they have particular characteristics, they are certain things and can act only in certain ways. We can induce that to be something, to exist, is to be something specific and limited; to have a characteristic is to have that characteristic and no other that is incompatible with it at the same time and in the same respect. We can know that there can be no all red birds that are at the same time all blue in the same way. We can induce that contradictions do not exist, the laws of identity and non-contradiction. So we know that to commit a contradiction in reasoning means to be mistaken. From this we develop the whole of logic as a method. And because we can employ logic and perceive reality we can be rational if we so choose.</p> <p>Knowledge is the position of an idea that reflects reality. It has been suggested that knowledge is impossible because people can be certain of contradicting ideas. But certainty can be mistakenly obtained by means other than objectivity and proper reasoning. So a disagreement doesn’t mean that no one can know the answer, only that someone has not employed or employed properly objectivity or reason and that his ideas do not then reflect reality. One (or more) of those who disagree are simply wrong. Knowledge is possible.</p> <p class="wp-report-this"><a href="" class="thickbox" title="Report this post">Report This Post</a></p> </div><!-- .entry-content --> <footer class="entry-meta"> This entry was posted in <a href="" rel="category tag">Philosophy</a> on <a href="" title="2:03 pm" rel="bookmark"><time class="entry-date" datetime="2009-02-05T14:03:14+11:00">February 5, 2009</time></a><span class="by-author"> by <span class="author vcard"><a class="url fn n" href="" title="View all posts by JonathanAwesome" rel="author">JonathanAwesome</a></span></span>. </footer><!-- .entry-meta --> </article><!-- #post --> <article id="post-7" class="post-7 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-philosophy"> <header class="entry-header"> <h1 class="entry-title"> <a href="" rel="bookmark">The Primacy of Existence</a> </h1> <div class="comments-link"> <a href="">3 Replies</a> </div><!-- .comments-link --> </header><!-- .entry-header --> <div class="entry-content"> <p><!--- blog subject ---><br /> By Jonathan Awesome</p> <p>I will here attempt to explain why existence exists independent of consciousness.</p> <p>The best way to go about this, I think, would be with the fact that<br /> something can not come from nothing. For something to become something<br /> else requires that it be within that things nature to thus change.<br /> Nothing is not a kind of thing, it has no nature. It has no attributes<br /> that allow it to be turned into something, it has no attributes what<br /> ever, it doesn’t exist. Thus all that exist now must have always<br /> existed in one form or another as it could not have come into being<br /> from nothing.</p> <p>Complex structures presuppose simpler structure<br /> of which they are composed. All things are made of combination of<br /> simpler things down to the basic constituent elements of matter<br /> (whatever they may be). Before something complex can exist it must<br /> develop.</p> <p>Any mechanism allowing for our kind of comprehension<br /> of reality is necessarily comparable in complexity to our own mechanism<br /> of consciousness: the extremely complex chains of chemical reactions<br /> and structures that make up our brains with the underlying subatomic<br /> structures and interactions which make those chemicals possible and<br /> whatever gives rise to those subatomic structures and interactions.<br /> Something must necessarily exists before consciousness can develop.<br /> This means that the universe did exist without anyone or thing<br /> conscious of it. And should anything conscious no longer exist it would<br /> again exist without anyone to comprehend, perceive or sense anything.<br /> Ergo the universe, all existence, exists independent of consciousness.</p> <p class="wp-report-this"><a href="" class="thickbox" title="Report this post">Report This Post</a></p> </div><!-- .entry-content --> <footer class="entry-meta"> This entry was posted in <a href="" rel="category tag">Philosophy</a> on <a href="" title="1:57 am" rel="bookmark"><time class="entry-date" datetime="2009-01-30T01:57:16+11:00">January 30, 2009</time></a><span class="by-author"> by <span class="author vcard"><a class="url fn n" href="" title="View all posts by JonathanAwesome" rel="author">JonathanAwesome</a></span></span>. </footer><!-- .entry-meta --> </article><!-- #post --> <article id="post-6" class="post-6 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-philosophy"> <header class="entry-header"> <h1 class="entry-title"> <a href="" rel="bookmark">The Poverty of Our Age</a> </h1> <div class="comments-link"> <a href=""><span class="leave-reply">Leave a reply</span></a> </div><!-- .comments-link --> </header><!-- .entry-header --> <div class="entry-content"> <p><meta content="text/html; charset=utf-8" http-equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" /><title /><meta content=" 2.0 (Win32)" name="GENERATOR" /><meta content="20081027;23104100" name="CREATED" /><meta content="20081028;23321043" name="CHANGED" /></p> <style> <!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style> <p align="center" style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">An Economic Overview</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Life requires effort. If you do not earn what you have someone else must. The things that raise your standard of living have to be created. Wealth has to be created. The basic elements of physical wealth exist in nature but are not wealth (do not raise anyone’s standard of living). Until and unless someone thinks of how to use it and then acts on his thoughts: they remain valueless. Oil would be of no use to anyone if no one had discovered the things it could be used for and how to produce them. The primary source of wealth, the means by which people survive and raise their standard of living is thought and then action.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">How well you live is not of course determined by physical wealth alone. There are non-physical forms of wealth, things we value that exist as or induce mental states or emotions. You can further the quality of your life by hearing a song you enjoy or by learning about an idea that inspires you. Wealth takes many forms but wealth in any form is the product of someone’s thought and effort. The song had to be written and performed and the thought conceived of and transmitted.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">To obtain wealth we engage in trade. We live in a division of labor society; some people grow crops, some people build houses and other structures, others right books or design computer software. Unlike the primitive men who produced on their own the very little that each man had; we each work in very specialized field of production and then trade what we earn for what others have produced. And, just as each man does not have to grow or hunt his own food, build his own home and make his own clothing, we do not trade, as the savages did, what we have produced directly for what we need. Farmers do not bring bags of potatoes to the mall and try to purchase Ipods with them. We use currency as a placeholder for value. We no longer have to hope to find someone who needs what we have and has what we want in order to trade with each other. If we still did there would be no Ipods.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">All this producing and trading and exchanging money is what an economy is. The creation of wealth through thought and effort and its exchange for other forms of wealth made smoother by a universally accepted placeholder for value. The accumulation of wealth can allow much greater purchases. Just as a farmer can grow more crops with a greater amount of saved up stock seed; saved up money can make possible greater purchases of material which can then be used to produce greater amounts of wealth.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">What makes an economy strong? A healthy economy is one where people, eager to live a good life, strive to produce wealth to enjoy and trade for other forms of wealth that are of greater value to them than what they are trading. Where those who have earned a lot of money invest in projects to produce even more wealth; where the stock seed capital is put in the hands of the best wealth growers and allowed to grow and flourish into more and better forms of wealth. One in which people innovate and invent ways of producing more and better things faster while spending less money on production. A strong economy is one where people can easily buy many high quality things in exchange for little. An economy in which people can live very well as a result of their effort because of the added effort of the other producers in such an economy to the extent that those others are productive.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">A healthy economy, like a health animal, is an active one. But an inactive animal is not healthy. Why is our economy inactive? This animal is held down by chains.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Large investments are much more difficult because the stock seed for these fields are being seized and devoured. We are seeing a shrinking economy because wealth is being taken from the most productive and being given to those who produce nothing. We are all taxed; robbed of a great portion of what we earn so that others who earn nothing may ride on our efforts. Our money is seized from us at the point of a hidden gun (if you wish to see this gun abstain from paying taxes long enough). It is thrown into the wind and spread around the country and around the word. Our money funds unproductive government monopolies which do not produce enough to support their own existence. It is taken from us by force to be given to every government employee that does no real work and produces no real wealth. It is given as plain alms to those on welfare and as foreign aid. And money is handed to the right business men when they fail at being productive. That’s right; failure to be successful is rewarded with the fruits of the labor of those who actual produce.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Companies are not free to produce what and as they please. Businesses are not only robbed by our government but regulated as well. Our greatest producers of wealth are not merely drained of their blood but are broken and crippled. Many companies no longer even exist as a result of laws restricting and controlling production, employment and distribution. Those who still exist are crippled. And it is impossible to guess how many companies would have sprung up and created what and how many unknown and uninvented goods because of this. The damage done by government regulation of businesses to the economy is inestimable.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">One more illness we are sick with is inflation. When the amount of currency grows and the amount of wealth stagnates or shrinks what we are each able to buy with the money we have shrinks with it. There is more money representing the same amount of or less actual wealth. When you see prices of goods rising it is because there is more money being printed and spent by the government. Money once had objective value; each dollar was exchangeable for gold. Your money was gold; you exchanged certificates entitling you to that gold. The amount of money was the amount of gold. But now money is just so much paper; as much of it as whoever happens to be in power wants can be printed. The value of money is controlled by someone’s whims and the desire to tax us more without us knowing that it’s happening. The newly printed money has value only to the extent that the existing money’s value drops. This is one more way that are standard of living is forced down and the economy’s stock seed is eaten.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">There are other drains the money is sucked down which are not completely caused by government and some that are not at all. Wealth in an economy is destroyed when; it is shoplifted as retail goods, when money is rewarded in insane and irrational lawsuits, against corporations or anyone else with money, to those who want something for nothing by judges and jurors eager to help out the “under dog” right or wrong. When those with money dump it into unproductive non-profit organizations such as those who give handouts to people who do not care to earn their living or engage in such reckless alms giving independently. What’s lacking in such cases as these is a proper moral code. The moral code of cannibalism and self immolation that is taken for granted in our society is the cause underlying all of the economic misconceptions which manifest themselves as regulations and taxes. Most people think of their morality as synonymous with morality and have never considered that an alternative could even exist. This ancient and baseless moral code is what guilts people into throwing away their wealth as alms rather than improving their own life by engaging in trade or investment. Misconceptions about morality caused by this code are what leads people to rob others and file outrageous law suits etc. Those who attempt an alternative to that code usually end up with some variation of the same theme.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">From the rationalizations for theft based on the belief that the successful are evil, to the essential confusions about what it means to be selfish with the assumption that life require someone’s sacrifice, to the rejection of all morality as such for the lack of any alternative and the proposed alternatives that take for granted the major premises of the code they pretend to be an alternative to. Altruism is an immeasurable force in our world. An immeasurably destructive force; not just economically. It is also destructive to a person’s own soul; his self esteem and view of existence.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Even deeper than this is the rejection of reason. As we saw, thought is a requirement of life and happiness. When people choose not to think on a mass scale baseless ideas flood through unresisting vacant minds. Such bad ideas (moral, political and economic) as are discussed above, which are easily demonstrated to be false or absurd, are accepted by such mechanisms as come to replace logic when it is not employed. False and arbitrary ideas are accepted through the vague and confused arguments given for them for lack of the ability to see their flaws. Ideas are accepted on faith, because of fear, guilt, admiration, or respect etc for the speaker. When reason is thrown out emotions take its place and an emotion cannot tell you if an idea is true or not. Emotions do not analyze arguments and detect errors in thinking. Emotions can tell you nothing about what exists outside of your own subconscious’s pre-absorbed value judgments. Whatever your mind happen to absorb by whatever means; rational and conscious or otherwise. To know what ideas are true and valid people need a commitment to reason.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">The world sliding down a steep cliff side, wet with the slippery slimy tear and slobber soaked mud of emotions misused as its guide to action; unable to pull itself up because it never learned how to climb. People knew once and they pulled us as far as we have climbed. But people grew content with comfortably resting and now we are seeing the rocks they cling to begin to slip because of that mud. If nothing changes we will find ourselves back in the very bottom of that pit of suffering and unremembered and incomprehensible hell we were dragged out of when some men learned to think. We will find ourselves in another dark age. The faith based hell on earth of cannibalism level poverty and unchecked diseases and natural disasters. We will find ourselves with out the products of the mind that most of us take for granted; the things that keep us happy, healthy and alive.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">What can be done? The first thing to be done on an economic level is to unchain businesses and allow them to produce. With the regulations voted away production will be free to rise. The parts of government which should not exist can be phased out along with all the other drains on the economy. The monopolies can be privatized; sold to and ran buy businesses and other businesses can be allowed to compete with them freely. Welfare can also be phased out as more work becomes available with the growth of businesses. All other forms of alms giving can be cut off or phased out. And eventually the government can be reduced to it’s proper and necessary roll of protecting peoples rights to life, liberty, property, the pursuit of happiness. . . . That is; a court system a police force and an army. Which can be funded by court fees, lottery and/or donation rather than the brutish, barbaric theft of taxation.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">But that’s only on an economic level. People must discover what is truly moral and abandon their prehistoric creed of sacrifice and death worship. People must learn to be rational and why they need reason. The best thing anyone can do is learn and spread the ideas of the philosopher Ayn Rand. To validate a political system where people are left free to pursue their own interests by producing the values they need to survive: people must understand that such is moral and why it is moral. People need the only scientific, fact based, rational moral system in existence. “The morality for living on earth” Ayn Rand’s rational egoism. People must also learn why this morality’s principles are true and how to discover truth. People must learn about logic and thinking clearly. People need epistemology. People must, to understand this, also learn what kind of world we live in; people need metaphysics. To live well on earth people need philosophy. They need fact based, rational and objective philosophy; demonstrably true philosophy.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">If you haven’t yet read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. It’s the best place to start living your life well and the best place to start any political-economic revolution. This book alone could save the world; if it still can be saved. Ayn Rand has also written many nonfiction works on philosophy and there are some books written by her scholars (Leonard P<font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">eikoff</font></font><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">, Andrew Bernstein, Tara Smith, Brian P. Simpson to name a few)</font><strong> </strong></font>that are unbelievably well written and enlightening for those who want more.</p> <p class="wp-report-this"><a href="" class="thickbox" title="Report this post">Report This Post</a></p> </div><!-- .entry-content --> <footer class="entry-meta"> This entry was posted in <a href="" rel="category tag">Philosophy</a> on <a href="" title="3:37 am" rel="bookmark"><time class="entry-date" datetime="2008-10-29T03:37:01+11:00">October 29, 2008</time></a><span class="by-author"> by <span class="author vcard"><a class="url fn n" href="" title="View all posts by JonathanAwesome" rel="author">JonathanAwesome</a></span></span>. </footer><!-- .entry-meta --> </article><!-- #post --> <article id="post-5" class="post-5 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-philosophy"> <header class="entry-header"> <h1 class="entry-title"> <a href="" rel="bookmark">On God and The Arbitrary</a> </h1> <div class="comments-link"> <a href="">5 Replies</a> </div><!-- .comments-link --> </header><!-- .entry-header --> <div class="entry-content"> <p>Introduction; The Foundation of Proof:</p> <p>Few would argue against the fact that something exists, that there is a reality. This implies two things; that you exist and you exist with the ability to perceive other things that exist, which is to say that you are conscious and what you are conscious of is reality. The other thing it implies is that to be is to be something and to be something is to be; to exist is to have a nature, to be limited; to have an identity.</p> <p>These are the three basic facts of reality that all ideas either reduce to or are refuted by. They are absolutes and the foundation of all proof and therefore cannot be disproved. They cannot be reduced further, they are the very beginning; such a concept is called an axiom. All of logic, the whole science, is an examination of the implications of the Law of Identity beginning with its direct corollary the Law of Non-Contradiction; a thing cannot be both its self and not its self at the same time and in the same respect. To make sense is to be consistent with the axioms. To be logical is to make no contradictions. The definition of logic is; the art of non-contradictory thinking.</p> <p>Symbolically the law of identity is written as “A is A”; where A can stand for any concept or entity. The Law of Non-contradiction can be written as “A =! -A”.</p> <p>So we have the three philosophical axioms; Existence, Consciousness, and Identity.</p> <p>What is meant by god is generally a creator of existence. So this will be the god Ill be refuting to start with.</p> <p>Existing While Not Existing (Being both A and -A):</p> <p>To create existence youd have to somehow exist outside of existence which is a contradiction. Existence is everything that exists; to not be included in this is to not exist. You cant create anything unless you exist. And to create your self is nonsense.</p> <p>Something From Nothing:</p> <p>Now there is also the issue of the conservation of matter and energy principles; they say that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. All acts of creation as the concept is used aside from the creation of existence refer not to somehow turning nothing into something but rearranging what already exists. For instance if I make a clay pot I dont say poof and magically have a pot in front of me that wasnt there before and was not made from something (i.e.; made from nothing) I have to take something, raw clay and rearranges it into the shape of a pot and then fire it which rearranges it on a molecular level into something rock hard rather than soft and gooey.</p> <p>This something from nothing would in logic be an A being a -A. But A = A and A =! -A. Non-existence has no identity, no nature and cannot be modified into something, there is nothing to modify. Nothing could not have become something, that is impossible. Creation is change and a things attributes are what dictates what it may be changed into. Nothing is not a thing and has no attributes. In fact a thing is its attrubtes. Nothing is the lack of anything it can not be rearranged in to something because there is nothing to rearrange.</p> <p>Unlimited As Not Anything:</p> <p>Infinity is impossible (except in respect to time). To be is to be something, to be infinite is to be without end to have no limit, to be nothing in particular, to have no limits; no nature. An infinitely powerful god is no god at all, because it has no nature and no identity.</p> <p>There is an old argument that is very much related:<br /> Can an infinitely powerful God create a rock so heavy that not even he can lift it? If so then he is not infinitely powerful because he can not lift the rock, if not then he is not infinitely powerful because he cannot create it.</p> <p>This does not disprove the existence of god as such but the existence of an all powerful one and a creator of existence. So then does this leave room for a limited god? Perhaps, but there is more that does not.</p> <p>The Death of God and All The Rest:</p> <p>Now here’s the biggest point: There is nothing in nature that can prove the existence of something above (or otherwise out side of) nature, no facts in reality can point to a super-nature. There are no facts in reality that point to the existence of a god and therefore no reason to think that there is such a thing. The arbitrary is necessarily disconnected from reality. To say something that isn’t about something you know to be in reality, i.e.; something you have not experienced or seen proof of is to say something about nothing. Because to not be in reality is to not be. And when someone asserts something disconnected from reality (i.e. without any evidence) it is to be treated as if he has said nothing at all; because he has said nothing at all, nothing about anything real.</p> <p>And even to claim that the existence of the arbitrary is “possible” is to make what in logic is called a positive statement. To say anything of something that ascribes something to it, as opposed to denying something of it, requires evidence of that statement. So you cannot logically say that God is possible without some evidence to suggest a possibility. Let alone that God exist in absence of any evidence.</p> <p>To say that you can’t disprove something so it is possible is to commit the logical fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam. To claim that because something has not been disproved so it is true, in this case; in respect to possibility. It attempts to make a positive statement ascribing possibility to something and demand disproof in place of providing evidence. This is a a shift of the burden (or onus) of proof.</p> <p>The onus of proof principle means that someone making a positive statement is the only person obligated to provide proof. This is because disproof can only be attempted by showing the presented evidence to be wrong or by otherwise relating the claim to reality. For instance an arbitrary claim made about a perceivable place may be disproved by going to that place and showing that the thing said to be there is not. However even this lends validity to the arbitrary and leaves the person expounding the arbitrary free to make more arbitrary claims in defense of the original ad infinitum. Unless you know to reject the arbitrary out of hand you will find yourself drowning in literal nonsense. You cannot demand counter evidence when no evidence has been presented. You cannot disprove when no attempt at proof has been made.</p> <p>And you cannot rationally call something true that you have no proof of.</p> <p>There you have it. Now, you can either evade what I have said or you can consider it honestly, the choice is yours to make. But keep in mind that you live in reality and adherence to it (honesty) is a necessity of living in it well.</p> <p class="wp-report-this"><a href="" class="thickbox" title="Report this post">Report This Post</a></p> </div><!-- .entry-content --> <footer class="entry-meta"> This entry was posted in <a href="" rel="category tag">Philosophy</a> on <a href="" title="4:36 pm" rel="bookmark"><time class="entry-date" datetime="2008-10-10T16:36:00+11:00">October 10, 2008</time></a><span class="by-author"> by <span class="author vcard"><a class="url fn n" href="" title="View all posts by JonathanAwesome" rel="author">JonathanAwesome</a></span></span>. </footer><!-- .entry-meta --> </article><!-- #post --> <article id="post-4" class="post-4 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-philosophy"> <header class="entry-header"> <h1 class="entry-title"> <a href="" rel="bookmark">On The Nature of Indoctrination</a> </h1> <div class="comments-link"> <a href="">1 Reply</a> </div><!-- .comments-link --> </header><!-- .entry-header --> <div class="entry-content"> <p><span class="postbitspan">An emotion is an automatic response to subconscious value judgments. When you experience an emotion it’s cause is an idea you happened to absorb by whatever means, rational or otherwise. Be it the ignorance of the necessity to look for ourselves or check the reasoning given that in childhood we all start out with (for we begin life ignorant of all things). Or be it the accompaniment of an idea by a warm smile from a face one trusts. One may acquire an idea simply because he would like it if it were true or by any other such non-rational method or combination of methods; accidental and unconscious or purposefully and consistently practiced. Your emotions may also be based on mistaken ideas left unknown and uncorrected. Absorption through error or personal appeal, as we will see, do not play a roll in indoctrination but are worth mentioning.</p> <p>In light of all of this and whatever other such sources of emotions left unenumerated the fact that they cannot be used as a basis for knowledge is clear. (Although they still have value in their own proper realm.) Because of the nature of emotions as windows into our subconscious and not reflections of the actual word, if facts about the world is what one seeks, emotions are not to be taken as the standard of acceptance or rejection of an idea. That you want something to be true or that you find inspiration in an idea or that someone you cared about said it does not change its relationship to reality.</p> <p>The possible classifications of an idea are worth discussing, but as I have covered them elsewhere I will quote myself here: “What is truth? And what are the alternatives to it?</p> <p>“Truth is the status of an idea which reflects the identity of an existent. Truth is the recognition of fact. Fact is the existential identity of entities. Truth, as here differentiated from fact, is epistemological; an attribute of an idea. Fact then is metaphysical, an attribute of a thing; its being so.</p> <p>“Falsehood is the status of an idea which contradicts the identity of an existent. A false idea clashes with the facts. Arbitrary is the status of an idea lacking relation to existents. The arbitrary is the realm of nonsense; utterances devoid of any real content; without a shred of evidence supporting its reflection of facts or its contradiction of them.</p> <p>“An ideas status as an opinion is determined by a persons method of arriving at it; what makes an idea an opinion is its acceptance based on an assumption. Once an idea’s relationship to reality has been established its status changes from opinion to truth or falsehood. If an opinions lack a relation to reality they are then absurd.”</p> <p>Absurdity, then, is the proper classification of an idea held without rational justification, an idea held for the sake of some emotion. Unless the idea clashes with the known facts; the evidence against it forcing it from the realm of the arbitrary to the realm of falsehood.</p> <p>Faith is belief based on such non-rational methods. Emotion being the essence of every proposed means of knowledge other than reason from perceivable evidence, faith is what they all amount to as well. Faith, emotion based belief, as seen above can tell you nothing about reality other than the content of your own mind. But, as said above, we are all born ignorant of all things. We are not born knowing how to judge the validity of an argument or the truth or falsehood of an idea. That what he has been told may not be true must be discovered by the developing child. Faith is the default which has to be shed to whatever degree one is to become objective, to employ the means of discovering truth and to obtain actual knowledge.</p> <p>To be truly understood an idea must rest on the ideas which support it down to the level of perceptual awareness. It must be seen to follow from, to be implied by earlier known ideas. We start with our sensations and come to know the things we can see, touch, smell. . . . We mentally isolate characteristics of the things we know to form abstractions and we form higher levels of abstraction by mentally isolating characteristics possessed by the instances of those lower level abstractions. Such is the hierarchical nature of our abstract knowledge.</p> <p>Indoctrination is essentially a violation of the hierarchical nature of knowledge, which is to say ideas given to the child divorced from any reasoning or evidence for them. For to truly know something one must understand the referents of the idea down to perceivably.</p> <p>Faith is essential to indoctrination. Faith is the method employed by indoctrination and the ignorance of a proper method of cognition in a child is what the whole process seeks to exploit. Indoctrination is exploitation of the trust of a child who has not yet learned that his teachers can be mistaken or even lying. Ideas devoid of evidence or rational justification are fed into minds that do not yet know to question them. But true ideas too, presented improperly, can be disadvantages to a developing mind. The undigested ideas given to the victim are taken on faith and can be trapped in the subconscious especially when presented with repetition. The true ideas taken this way causing the method to become automatic by increasing the practice of the method. True ideas taken on faith are harmful also by divorcing the idea from its foundation leaving it not truly understood. Emotional value can also be attached to ideas given to the very young in this way by subconsciously relating the idea to the person of origin making later questioning it more difficult or even painful depending on the value of the person of origin. This of course can lead to an intellectually evasive, self deceptive adult. The strong emotions experienced when trying to question the ideas driving the indoctrinated away from looking or believing what is found.</p> <p>If indoctrination is giving abstract ideas to children without their justification then the proper approach to teaching would be to teach the principles of clear reasoning to the child by implication. To give the abstract principles of logic to a child unequipped to grasp them would be an odd form of indoctrination as you would cause those principles (which are antithetical to faith) to be taken on faith. The way to teach these principles by implication would be to teach the child hierarchically starting with the self evident, insuring he understands each step and reducing, in terms he can grasp, more abstract ideas to them. While giving the proofs of what you teach to the child it should also be conducive to use logical terms such as “therefor.” And present your proofs in such a style as to imply the structure of formal arguments. This method should allow the child to learn how to reason clearly by example. Learning about logic explicitly, in conscious terms can be of some value to the child at a further stage of development after the functional implicit method of reasoning has developed and he is properly equipped to grasp the principles down to their roots.</p> <p>Indoctrination is the mechanism of perpetuating nonsense who’s origin is the time before people knew any better than to make assumptions or even wholly invent stories to explain what they did not yet know how to understand. For faith and all of its atrocity to endure for over two thousand three hundred years after the father of logic, Aristotle discovered the essence of a proper method of thinking took such a mechanism of brainwashing the innocent and its consequence in a weak mind of blinding one’s self to the facts in the name of emotion, evasion.</p> <p>To clear the road to the future for human life on earth, for the progress of reason and freedom, would mean to end indoctrination. To stop destroying minds before they can develop and to reach the coherent parts of the not fully destroyed minds with the light of reason and prevent the further perpetuation.</span></p> <p class="wp-report-this"><a href="" class="thickbox" title="Report this post">Report This Post</a></p> </div><!-- .entry-content --> <footer class="entry-meta"> This entry was posted in <a href="" rel="category tag">Philosophy</a> on <a href="" title="4:34 pm" rel="bookmark"><time class="entry-date" datetime="2008-10-10T16:34:15+11:00">October 10, 2008</time></a><span class="by-author"> by <span class="author vcard"><a class="url fn n" href="" title="View all posts by JonathanAwesome" rel="author">JonathanAwesome</a></span></span>. </footer><!-- .entry-meta --> </article><!-- #post --> <nav id="nav-below" class="navigation" role="navigation"> <h3 class="assistive-text">Post navigation</h3> <div class="nav-previous"><a href="" ><span class="meta-nav">←</span> Older posts</a></div> <div class="nav-next"></div> </nav><!-- .navigation --> </div><!-- #content --> </section><!-- #primary --> </div><!-- #main .wrapper --> <footer id="colophon" role="contentinfo"> <div class="site-info"> <a href="" class="imprint" title="Semantic Personal Publishing Platform"> Proudly powered by WordPress </a> </div><!-- .site-info --> </footer><!-- #colophon --> </div><!-- #page --> <p class="wp-report-this"><a href="" class="thickbox" title="Report this blog">Report This Blog</a></p><script type='text/javascript' src=''></script> <script type='text/javascript' src=''></script> </body> </html>