Monkey wrote: "And the hole in your inconsistent form of logic gets deeper, CV."

The "hole" to which you refer is not in my logic, but in your understanding of Objectivism. Let's see if we can patch some of those holes up.

Monkey wrote: "If you wish to distinguish between entities and attributes then you will have to state, in clear terms what that distinction is."

That's fine. Here are some topical points to consider:

The concept 'entity' is axiomatic in the sense that it cannot be defined in terms of prior concepts. It refers directly to perceptually self-evident objects which we see in reality. For instance, a car, a bottle, a refrigerator, a building, a person, a tree, a rock, a television set. Note the following:

An entity means a self-sufficient form of existence - as against a quality, an action, a relationship, etc., which are simply aspects of an entity that we separate out by specialized focus. An entity is a thing…. An entity, in the primary sense, is a solid thing with a definite boundary - as against a fluid, such as air. In the literal sense, air is not an entity. There are contexts, such as when the wind moves as one mass, when you can call it that, by analogy, but in the primary senses, fluids are not entities… An entity is perceptual in scale, in size. In other words it is a 'this' which you can point to and grasp by human perception. In an extended sense you can call molecules 'entities', because they are self-sufficient things. But in the primary sense when we say that entities are what is given in sense perception, we mean solid things which we can directly perceive. [Peikoff, Leonard, "The Philosophy of Objectivism"]

To perceive an object is to discriminate it from other objects, to isolate it from its background, to be aware of it as a unit, a distinct whole. Thus the proper object of perception is the entity - the ashtray on the desk, the eraser in my hand. It is true that many of the things one perceives are not entities in the usual sense of solid objects. One can see cigarette smoke and shadows, feel a breeze or the water in the tub. Indeed, in some [sense] modalities one is never aware of solid objects as such. One smells chemical substances carried by the air; one hears sounds, and by means of them discriminates events. But in all these cases, the object perceived has the character of an entity. It is a segregated whole: it stands out from its background, and it possesses a distinctive identity as a unit. [Kelley, David, The Evidence of the Senses, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986), pp. 45-46, emphasis added.]

An attribute, on the other hand, is a characteristic of an entity. For instance, the weight of a table, the color of its legs, the grain of the wood in the table top, a stain in the table top, the smell of the lacquer on the wood of the table, etc. These characteristics do not stand alone apart from the table. For this reason, we distinguish these characteristics from the whole, calling the whole an entity and its characteristics attributes.

The distinction is valid, and it is quite probable that you yourself make reference to these points in your daily comings and goings. For instance, if you are with your friend in a book store and you ask him to grab a book off the shelf, he might ask you "Which one?" (in order to distinguish one book from another - i.e., one entity on the shelf from another one next to it). You would say "The yellow one" or "the tall skinny one," thus distinguishing two entities of the same kind by reference to their attributes.

I hope this is now clearer.

Monkey wrote: "Any entity which you assert exists, is by definition an attribute of the universe."

I do not accept this, since I do not hold that the universe is an entity, but the sum total of that which exists, including all entities and their attributes. In other words, properly speaking, the universe is a collection of entities, not an entity as such in the primary sense mentioned in the Peikoff quote above.

Monkey wrote: "So though the terms attribute and entity can refer to things in a different way you still need to explain which entities are not attributes of the universe and why?"

See above.

Monkey wrote: "This of course is not possible, because as soon as you deny that an existing thing is an attribute of the universe then you in fact deny that it is existing at all."

Wrong. This could only be true if we assume that the universe itself is an entity, and I have corrected this above.


Monkey wrote: "You want to claim that some things are not attributes of the universe but
entities instead, thus creating a distinction that doesn't exist."

Wrong again. Entities are not "attributes of the universe" since the universe is not a single entity, but a collection of entities.

Monkey wrote: "If you have such world revealing evidence, would you like to share it with us?"

Not if you're going to be immature about it (such as when you deliberately misspell someone's name). I can tell when people are genuinely serious or not. Why waste my time with those who are not?

Monkey wrote: "It is the kind of vacuous nonsense that runs through the whole of objectivist writing."

(It's adolescent ejaculations of this nature which lead me to suspect that Monkey's ambition is not to gain understanding, but to mock and discredit those who do not share his views. Corresponding with such individuals quickly grows tiresome, since the exchange is unilateral - i.e., from the serious to the non-serious.)

Monkey wrote: "Axioms such as 'We should do the right thing' and 'existence exists' which are bland and uninformative, containing no clear statement or opinion. Yet we are supposed to take them as axioms on which we can build knowledge!"

Again, we have more misunderstanding (or disunderstanding?) of the nature of axioms as employed in Objectivism. For one, "We should do the right thing" is not an axiom as Objectivism understands the term. Also, what exactly do you expect an axiom to "inform"? I have pointed out numerous times now that axioms in Objectivism identify those basic, general facts of reality which we directly perceive and which we cannot escape. Those facts are irreducible, perceptually self-evident and undeniable. Do you deny that existence exists? In order to deny it, you would have to assume it.

Furthermore, it is important to understand the relationship which the axioms have to the rest of one's knowledge, as understood in Objectivism. I quote Dr. Ron Merrill:

However, unlike mathematical postulates, philosophical axioms should not be expected to be "fertile," that is, capable of generating a body of knowledge by deduction. In the passages cited, Rand stresses that philosophy can delimit what is possible, but only science can determine what possibilities are actual. It is clear that Objectivism does not aim at developing philosophy as a system of deductive implications from its axioms, in the manner of the rationalists. For Rand, the purpose of axioms is to ground the knowledge gained by the senses, not to replace it. (Axioms: The Eight-Fold Way, http://www.vix.com/objectivism/Writing/RonMerrill/AxiomsTheEightFoldWay.html)

Monkey wrote: "A straightforward and genuine scientific problem was put to you. I shall
repeat it.

"How would you attempt to justify the former (that the non-physical is dependent on the physical) rather than the latter (that the physical is dependent on the non-physical)?

"Again you skipped the answer with arrogance and contempt. You said; 'By looking at reality'."

What alternative does a monkey suggest?

Besides, if it is a scientific problem as you say above, then really you should consult a scientist (I have already recommended several by means of quotation). I am not a scientist, so perhaps you are expecting something from me erroneously.

Monkey wrote:
"Would you care to embellish this answer at all?"

Perhaps if I get time later, if indeed I think you are sincerely interested in this topic. (However, at this time, I'm afraid I'm not convinced that you are.) You may have my deepest sympathies if this does not suit you.

Monkey wrote: "Is your view in any way established fact among scientific commentators?"

I already cited several sources which support this view. Thus, when you say "I shall tell you that it isn't," I surmise that your research is not complete.

Monkey wrote: "On the one hand you wish to make consciousness non-reducible to the physical. On the other you wish to make consciousness (as non-physical) dependent on the physical."

I really don't see what is so controversial about this. There is no contradiction in recognizing that consciousness is irreducible to the physical and that consciousness is dependent on the physical. Look at the magnetism which is produced by an electrical current running through a wire, for instance. The magnetism is not the same as the wire, but you take away the wire, and you also take away the magnetism. Similar with conscious, but with a context made up of different details.

Monkey wrote: "If consciousness is axiomatic then it is non-reducible to simpler terms."

This is actually a different issue from the point I made just above. In the point I made just above, that is a matter of the metaphysical nature of consciousness. When it comes to the axiomatic nature of consciousness, this has epistemological implications, since it is dealing with the way the mind forms concepts and organizes data into knowledge. These are two different matters. When Objectivism says that consciousness is axiomatic it is saying that it cannot be defined in terms of prior concepts. Axiomatic concepts are defined ostensively, not conceptually. Thus, consciousness is both metaphysically not reducible to matter, and conceptually irreducible. However, simply because something is not reducible to matter, it does not follow that it cannot be dependent upon it at the same time (see above). Perhaps this is one of the errant assumptions floating in Monkey's mind.

Monkey wrote: "Should you wish to make the non-physical dependent on the physical…"

The non-physical is not dependent upon the physical because I wish it to be, Monkey. Please keep this in mind. That would be known as the primacy of consciousness, which I reject (and that's why I reject all god-beliefs, Christian or otherwise).

Monkey wrote: "… then you lose the axiomatisaton you claim to have established."

Since I've clarified your confusion above, you should see why this misunderstanding is unnecessary now.

Monkey wrote: "It is no longer a fundamental, but something which is dependent on some other thing for its existence."

Here you are confusing the metaphysical nature of consciousness with the epistemological nature of axioms. I have corrected your confusion above.

Monkey wrote: "If you drop the claim that the non-physical is dependent on the physical you have the difficulty of explaining the old Cartesian chestnut, How are minds aware of physical bodies?"

The question answers itself. Do you not see this?

Monkey wrote: "The evidence is quite clear. All known universes…"

How many universes do you know of?

Monkey wrote: "… contain both consciousness and physical attibutes."

Again, the universe is not an entity. The entities which exist are not "attributes" of the universe.

Monkey wrote: "When you can show us a universe which contains only physical attributes and no mental ones then you will have your evidence."

What, based on your misunderstandings? Why would I want to indulge those?

Monkey wrote: "Until then it is quite obvious (from the evidence in my possession, blah blah blah) that a universe requires both physical and non-physical entities, as mutual dependents, in order for that universe to exist."

I'm wondering where it is you think you've established this conclusion, even with your misunderstandings in place. Perhaps you could present your argument as a formalized syllogism, that is, unless you're simply monkeying around.

CertainVerdict