I question the validity of the notion "essence of existence" (you
have not attempted to validate this dichotomy here; indeed, it was
one of Aquinas' major errors). Instead of what you write here, I would
suggest: "The fact that existence exists does not change."
"At the basic root, we could say that consciousness is
I do not accept this. Self-awareness is a species of consciousness; self-awareness
(or self-consciousness; I use the terms interchangeably) is not the primary
form of consciousness. To be self-conscious, something must be able to
identify itself as conscious or at least be able to distinguish itself from
other objects in its perceptual environment. But to identify itself as
conscious or distinguish itself from other objects, it must first be conscious
of something, i.e., of objects from which it can distinguish itself. In other
words, it needs the concept 'identity' which is a corollary to the concept
For instance, an infant, before it is even aware of its own self, is aware of
objects surrounding it, such as its crib, a mobile dangling above its head,
its parents, etc. Self-awareness is secondary to awareness of objects surrounding
oneself. It's only after one can identify himself as a conscious being that it
can become conscious of itself. The context of reality cannot be dropped from
our philosophical musing, as Peter does so haphazardly here, and then be
restored after our musing has satisfied our druthers. Rational philosophy
doesn't work that way.
Thus, I would correct Peter's statement to read the following: "At
root, consciousness is consciousness of existence." (In other words,
consciousness is conscious of objects which exist.) Only thereafter can
species of the primary genus 'consciousness' be identified. The concept 'self'
is not on a par with the axioms; it is an abstraction which is made possible
only after the axioms have been identified or assumed. Otherwise, you risk the
hazard of forming package-deals, which will invalidate your reasoning process.
Thus when Peter writes:
"I realize that I exist (cogito ergo sum)"
I would rephrase this according to the following:
I realize that I exist because a) I am conscious of other things, and,
b)because of a), I can distinguish myself from those other things (hence the
pronoun 'I' and the concept 'self').
Remember: Axiomatic concepts (of which 'consciousness' is one) are not defined
in terms of prior concepts. They are axiomatic because they are conceptually
irreducible. Furthermore, they are needed in order to form new concepts higher
up the conceptual ladder (e.g., 'self'; "self" as opposed to what?).
"However, the question that must be asked is: by what manner do I become
aware that I exist?"
By a means of awareness (but you have already said that you cannot
trust these means, so you commit yourself to stolen concepts). See comments
"Awareness must come either from inside existence or outside of
Why is that? Why the dichotomy? What does it mean that "awareness must
come from inside existence"? What does it mean that "awareness must
come from outside existence"? What do you mean by "come from"
here? I'm not saying this is right or wrong, only that it is now interjected
without validation. Above you already legislated (through extremely poor
reasoning which is self-negating, I might add) that "we cannot
trust" the primary means of our awareness (i.e., the senses). Perhaps you
are assuming the diaphanous model of consciousness here? If so, then you will
not be able to escape your stolen concepts, Peter. See Kelley, David,
"The Primacy of Existence" (IOS Lectures, 1986) and "The
Evidence of the Senses" (Louisiana State University Press, 1986) where
these issues are effectively dealt with, and the stolen concepts assumed in
this view are uprooted and corrected.
"Therefore, awareness of existence must come from existence itself."
By what means?
"As a result, consciousness (self-awareness) must arise from
By what means?
"As a result, existence itself causes self-realization"
By what means?
"and therefore existence,"
Ah ah ah! Watch those stolen concepts!
"in its root form (the part that is immutable, etc.) is
D'oh! You're falling into your own traps again here, Peter! Go back to
"Consciousness does not come from experiencing empirical data, because I
have demonstrated that consciousness exists regardless of whether or not the
physical world exists."
And to do that, you had to put forward a stolen concept (and a frozen
abstraction on top of that!) and assume the diaphanous model of consciousness.
Did you see it? Now you're running into a new problem - the fallacy of pure
self-reference - e.g., consciousness conscious only of itself, which is a
contradiction in terms. I'm afraid the diagnosis doesn't look good here,
"Existence, which may or may not include the physical world (we have not
yet said anything about the material world), necessitates consciousness apart
from empirical data."
Wow! There's another doosey of a stolen concept! My oh my Peter! You sure
don't seem to be able to outgrow this nasty habit!
"I can only prove my own consciousness,"
Can you prove you're conscious without being conscious? Can you validate your
mind without using it?
"But what I do know is that existence causes consciousness."
Again I ask: By what means?
"Therefore, to summarize what we have so far, existence is eternal,
self-existent, outside the realm of time, immutable, and is
So a rock is conscious? Now you're package-dealing again!
"Further, since we know that these things are true regardless of whether
or not the physical world exists, existence is not dependent upon the physical
world for existence."
Not only has Peter not established this, he must accept stolen concepts,
frozen abstractions and package-deals in order to pass it off as one of his
conclusions. I cannot accept it as it is all invalid.
"Something that is not physical is not made of material items, and is
Can you define what you mean by 'immaterial' in affirmative terms? If
'immaterial' can only be defined in negative terms (e.g., "immaterial is
that which is not material," etc.) then obviously the
concept 'material' holds primacy over the concept 'immaterial', since it is
only in contrast to that which is material that one can form the concept
'immaterial' to begin with. Otherwise, it's just another stolen concept, and
without an affirmative definition, it is contentless as well.
"As such, existence is eternal, self-existent, outside the realm of time,
immutable, consciousness, and is itself immaterial."
Here Peter's package-deal grows another tentacle.
"Something that is eternal, self-existent, outside the realm of time,
immutable, conscious, and immaterial can be nothing other than God."
And voila! Thus the road to god-belief is always paved with fallacy.
Clever (though not very), but still completely invalid. But keep trying! We
know you want your god to exist!