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In Defense of Truth: PART II

April 16, 2010

NOTE: This is my answer to a Filipino Freethinker named Pecier Decierdo. In my blog article entitled In Defense of Truth, I discussed what’s wrong with the neo-mystic collective Filipino Freethinker, “environmental conservatism,” Reproductive Health bill, and other related issues. In his lengthy reply, Pecier Decierdo presented the alleged superiority of his logic, philosophy, and science. Since he raised a lot of issues and misrepresented some of the arguments I raised in my original post, my counter-argument has to be very long in order to address only the pertinent points he made.

@ Pecier Decierdo:

Context-dropping, floating abstraction, mystical Popperian (Kantian) perspective, straw man fallacy, and an attempt to direct

Science is the product of man's use of reason and logic.

Science is the product of man's use of reason and logic.

the discussion to another battleground, which you believed to be my waterloo (just an observation)—these are the basic problems/flaws in your lengthy response to my argument.

You have successfully dropped the context of my argument and then raised a lot of insignificant issues, which are not in any way related to the arguments I raised. By making a lot of unrelated, minor issues, which do not really represent my views, you have resorted to straw man fallacy by ignoring my actual position and substituting it with misrepresented and distorted version of my argument. However, I have to make it clear that this is simply my observation since I believe your argumentation is just a product of your very little knowledge about the philosophy of Objectivism and your failure to consciously integrated the junk heap of philosophical perspectives and ideas you absorbed from your Kantian professors.

Here’s what you said: “First of all, some truths are absolute. Among the group of truths that are absolute are the truths of logic and the truths of mathematics. A is A, a=a, 1+1=2, “Cogito ergo sum” and so on and so forth. In the language of philosophy, these truths are a priori, analytic and necessary. When these truths are not tautologies (such as A is A) or axioms (1+1=2), then they are deduced from tautologies or axioms.”

First, let me address your statement “some truths are absolute” by clarifying what I meant by “truth and science are absolute.” I was referring to metaphysical truth and scientific truth. A scientific truth constitutes a fact of reality, a metaphysical reality. Realty is an absolute. Truth is properly defined as the recognition or identification of the facts of reality, and we integrate and recognize these facts by the application of concepts.[1] On the other hand, the dictionary definition of truth is: “conformity to fact or actuality; a statement proven to be or accepted as true.”

When a philosopher or a person claims that there is no such a thing as absolute by justifying the presumption that there is a dichotomy—an artificial split—of truths and opposition, then such a philosopher or a person is undercutting the validity of human volition. What do you think will happen if truths are not absolute?

Such statement as “it may be true today, but it may not be true tomorrow”, or “it may be true for you, but it’s not true for me” is a product of man’s relative premises, which indicates that there is no such thing as absolute. And such kind of relativist and skeptic mentality simply means that there is no objective perceivable reality, or there is no reality at all, and that the Law of Identity (A is A) is illogical.

When you said “some truths are absolute”, then you are saying that some facts of reality are half-truths or half-falsities. But if you’re really aware of the important function of definition, you would realize the danger and invalidity of your statement “some truths are absolute.” It is either-or. If a thing, or a particular fact of reality, is not true or semi-true, then it’s false.

You went on to argue that “the truths of science are never absolute,” saying they are merely  “provisional, which means that they are true only as far as the present body of evidences is concerned.” You gave as example the “Newtonian mechanics” which was regarded as “true” back in the day of Isaac Newton.

Again, let me restate that I am talking of scientific truth, which should be established (by means of scientific process or validation), objective, permanent, and immutable. When it comes to scientific theories, one cannot prove any theory to be true. For example, a scientist might conduct a series of test in order to disprove a particular theory. Such a theory might pass 10,000 tests, yet the 10,001st test could prove it false. Thus, a scientific theory, which passed so many tests or falsification attempts, is not supposed to be considered an “absolute” scientific truth. The law of gravity is an absolute truth, because if it were not absolute then we there would be chaos. And if the laws of physics and science were not absolute, economic activities and scientific progress would be impossible.

This only shows that you have gone too far in explaining what you think is  my invalid argument.

Now let me address what you stated in your counter-argument: that cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) is an absolute truth, which is one of your biggest philosophical flaws. I think you should reconsider calling yourself a “Freethinker” (if this term has any meaning at all).

This philosophical concoction by Rene Descartes is NOT an absolute truth. In fact it is false!  For your information this was properly dealt with by my Goddess (your own word) Ayn Rand, who demolished it with her “I am, therefore I’ll think.” Ayn Rand’s “I am, therefore I’ll think” best explains the primacy of existence over consciousness. Hence, “I am” is a clear statement of one’s existence, a rejection of Descartes’ “I think”, which pertains to the primacy of consciousness over existence. If you’re aware of Rand’s metaphysics, you would have grasped that it is more complete and is consistent with her epistemology, which starts with irreducible primary-existence.

If you take Descartes’ cogito ergo sum as an absolute truth, then it reveals that you simply absorbed a junk heap of philosophical drivels without having been able to consistently and coherently integrate them. Rene Descartes’ “the prior certainty of consciousness” is the idea that existence is not plain and obvious to man—that it can only be validated by the process of deduction from the innate, intrinsic contents of his consciousness.[2] This means that man’s consciousness consists of some faculty other than the faculty of perception. Thus Descartes considered the contents of a man’s consciousness as the irreducible primary and absolute, to which existence or reality has to adhere to. Is this what you call an absolute truth?

To make it very clear why Ayn Rand attacked Descartes’ archaic, invalid cogito ergo sum, which you consider to be an absolute truth, she wrote:

“The basic metaphysical issue that lies at the root of any system of philosophy [is] the primacy of existence or the primacy of consciousness. The primacy of existence (of reality) is the axiom that existence exists, i.e., that the universe exists independent of consciousness (of any consciousness), that things are what they are, that they possess a specific nature, an identity. The epistemological corollary is the axiom that consciousness is the faculty of perceiving that which exists—and that man gains knowledge of reality by looking outward. The rejection of these axioms represents a reversal: the primacy of consciousness—the notion that the universe has no independent existence, that it is the product of a consciousness (either human or divine or both). The epistemological corollary is the notion that man gains knowledge of reality by looking inward (either at his own consciousness or at the revelations it receives from another, superior consciousness). The source of this reversal is the inability or unwillingness fully to grasp the difference between one’s inner state and the outer world, i.e., between the perceiver and the perceived (thus blending consciousness and existence into one indeterminate package-deal). This crucial distinction is not given to man automatically; it has to be learned. It is implicit in any awareness, but it has to be grasped conceptually and held as an absolute.”[3]

Now going to your ignorant, pathetic attack on Aristotle, Ayn Rand and induction. You wrote the following statements: “You see where pure reason lead Aristotle? What, do you think, is the reason why a very intelligent and first class mind as Aristotle got it very wrong in physics, astronomy, biology and basically all of science? I am not downgrading Aristotle’s contribution to philosophy and logic –I am an Aristotle fan, after all, and between Plato and Aristotle I’d bet my but on Aristotle any day — what I am asking you about was his failure to discover the modern theories of science despite his superlative intellect. Why was Aristotle’s theory of motion wrong? Why was his theory of gravity? His theory of forces? His theory of momentum? Answer: he was not empirical enough; he was not experimental enough.”

Aristotle who lived thousands of years ago truly understood how man could gain knowledge, as well as the function of man’s cognition, which you and some so-called intellectuals of the modern era miserably failed to understand. In his hierarchy pertaining to induction, demonstrative reasoning, particulars, perception and universals, Aristotle contends that: a) induction starts with sense-perception of particulars; b) it derives from particulars, hence it is impossible sans sense-perception; c) induction is the only process to grasp universals; and d) demonstration, which is the deductive form of knowledge, proceeds from universals.[4]

We use the process of induction when we begin our reasoning process from particulars to universals. Thus we start with what exists and then we move to universals. Induction and deduction are the process of developing and applying concepts. The first pertains to the process of grasping the facts of reality and of integrating and of consolidating them into unified concepts, while the second is the process of absorbing new instances under an already known concept. Since you consider Ayn Rand an insignificant and “unoriginal” philosopher without reading any of her books except probably second-hand, dishonest reviews, let me tell you that she had strongly defended inductive reasoning better than any philosopher in the past century. Just recently a physicist and philosophy professor, David Harriman, and Dr. Leonard Peikoff, a philosopher, explored and tackled the significant role of experiment and mathematics in confirming and justifying generalizations in physics. Harriman contends that philosophy- a science that edifies scientists the ways to be scientific- is an inductive science.

Your attack on Aristotle, Ayn Rand, and induction is also unoriginal. If Ayn Rand is the subject of most nihilist, irrational, and dishonest criticisms in the liberal media today, Aristotle and induction have been the subject of assault by some irrationalist philosophers since the time of Immanuel Kant, David Hume and Karl Popper. You have simply parroted the illogical argument held by Hume and Popper against induction. Popper agreed with the idea of Hume that “there is no argument of reason which permits an inference from one case to another.” Both argued that induction depends on observation for its validity. And this is also your main argument against induction. You said: “The laws and theories of science are not absolute for the following reasons: the facts and theories of science are inductive generalizations inferred from a finite body of observations, data and evidences.”

But this is not the case. Induction does not depend on observation alone for its validity. It depends for its validity on the Law of Identity. Existence signifies identity. A is A means a thing is what it is. For instance, the actions of a particular object or entity form part of its identity, which means that entities exist, which possess identity.

Existence signifies identity. This means that it is impossible to exist without being something, and an entity can only be what it is- A is A. Thus the way to knowledge is through valid induction- meaning it must be free from any contradiction- that rests upon the axiom of the Law of Identity. In ordinary language, A is A, or the Law of Identity, means “you cannot have your cake and eat it, too.” This is very elementary. All invalid criticisms against induction is always grounded in the fact that the irrational critics overlooked the Law of Identity, and this is the case of both Hume and Popper.

Induction played and still plays a very important role in man’s civilization because all knowledge of language and of entities were gained or obtained inductively and not intuitively. If you consider induction insignificant then all the acquired human thought, all language, and all knowledge of the world and reality would be insignificant as well.

In regard to your so pathetic attempt to repudiate Aristotle and Ayn Rand, let me quote the latter, whom I consider the greatest philosopher on earth:

“Observe every anti-Aristotelian, every mystical, school of thought in any philosopher since the time of Aristotle up to the present, and you will observe that, directly or indirectly, and usually quite implicitly, the philosophers rest their attack on reason on their attack against the law of identity. It is the law of identity that every irrationalist is attempting to attack, to destroy, and to eliminate from human thinking. And it can’t be done. The law of identity is an axiom which has to be used by its opponents in the very act of denying it. But if you want to untangle the complex, incredible, fantastic attacks on human reason, I will leave you with this clue. See in how many different ways the mystery of these attacks consists only of one fundamental issue: the attempt to negate the law of identity. And when you realize that, you will realize clearly the immortal, incomparable greatness of Aristotle and of his achievement”

You also said: “Another thing that is so flawed with your comment on Malthus’ thesis is that you think all scientific theories have to be true for all time. But that’s flat-out wrong.”

Again, I never stated that “scientific theories have to be true for all time.” Go back to my argument above. Here you’re simply attacking a straw man by distorting my position and by replacing it with another version that does not in any way represent my original position.

I have to repeat here what I have stated in my first post:

“Both the anti-population advocates and the environmentalists demand for more government powers. They believe that population growth would lead to what most of them fear—a so-called Malthusian catastrophe. This anti-population philosophy devised by Thomas Malthus in the early eighteenth century, which was imbibed by Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich and the rest of the modern-day environmentalists and the so-called population experts, postulates that “the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.” Despite the fact that it was developed about two centuries ago, this Malthusian theory still poisons most modern-day population intellectuals. Malthus wrote his thesis for irrational men at the time when such things as genetic engineering, wireless technology, high-end machines and apparatuses, innovative architectural engineering, among many others were still beyond the imagination of man. Malthus, his followers, and fellow thinkers believed that man is a helpless being who cannot improve his status on earth.”

You said: “The prerequisite of a Malthusian trap is a population that grows faster than the growth of production. That prerequisite was satisfied in the times before the Industrial Revolution, thus the Malthusian trap.”

Although I don’t think that the above-quoted has anything to do with what I stated in my original post, I think I have to address the fatal error in your argument. Are you now saying that we must go back to that pre-industrial revolution era in order to “satisfy” what you call the “prerequisite of a Malthusian trap”? If this is the case, then you’re agreeing with my statement that “Malthus wrote his thesis for irrational men at the time when such things as genetic engineering, wireless technology, high-end machines and apparatuses…” thus his argument is simply a myth and never scientific. You’re somehow agreeing that Malthus wrote his illogical, invalid thesis for people like you. May I remind you that you claimed earlier that Malthus’ thesis was scientific during his time, but it is no longer scientific today.

Here’s another fallacy in your argument: “The prerequisites are not satisfied today, thus the exponential growth of the human population. But the situation will not last for long; the earth has a limited carrying capacity and the day is drawing near when the growth of our production cannot beat the growth of our population, hence the need for conservationism for the sake of our species’ survival.”

This is the reason why an individual must embrace an integrated philosophy by deliberately, consciously understanding the relations between his metaphysics and epistemology, and how these two basic foundations of philosophy relate to his ethics and politics. Thus the basic principles that one must embrace should not contradict or clash with one another.

First, the mystical theory of Malthus, which you believe to be true, is invalid or incorrect. His population principle is the very foundation of the environmental movement or the conservationist philosophy, which you fervently support. Its alleged validity is the term “earth’s carrying capacity,” which refers to the number of people living in a particular area. The apologists of environmentalism or environmental conservatism also introduced a new term, “ecological footprint,” which is a measurement of the number of units a particular land area an inhabitant uses. This scheme is a clear inversion of the term “carrying capacity.” However in practice, this scheme is totally unscientific, a proof that you really don’t know what you are talking about.

Your pathetic, ignorant defense of Malthusian trap simply shows that you are a skeptic, and that you don’t believe that man has the capability to improve his status on earth. This statement of yours—“ the earth has a limited carrying capacity and the day is drawing near when the growth of our production cannot beat the growth of our population”— simply proves that you’re flat-out wrong in your philosophy of death. You claim to be very good at science, yet you don’t even understand the role of economics in our lives and in the survival of man.

Again I repeat what I stated in my original post:

“Because of the continued development of science and technology, man is now able to command nature. If man wants to live on earth, he must regard reason as his absolute and believe that his mind is valid and that ideas matter. To counter scarcity of food, scientists discovered genetic engineering. In the Philippines, Filipino scientists developed a scientific formulation at the Philippine Rice Research Institute decades back to genetically manipulate rice production in the country. But since most politicians did not value rational philosophy and ideas, this innovative undertaking was slowly overshadowed by what they call “practical programs” and “pragmatic results.” Before, television sets and radio were only for the rich, but the ‘greedy’ capitalists who were only after money managed to offer these “luxuries” to average-earning people through mass production and competition. Before, computers were as large as a single-storey house, but because of continued innovation and discovery, innovators and capitalists now offer affordable computer units and laptops in almost all part of the globe.”

Now I don’t believe in shrinking resources. There are shrinking resources because man’s freedom is shrinking. What do I mean by this? If world governments allowed economic freedom to flourish and if the stupid environmentalists and their nihilist cohorts (e.g., the secular humanists, freethinkers, and religious people) stayed at bay and kept their stupidity a private matter, there would have been a new technological and scientific renaissance on earth. Technological and scientific development is only possible in a free society. By free society I mean an informed society. A society that does not regard man as a sacrificial animal or the means to the ends of others. And we would only be able to achieve a free society if men truly understood the real essence and concept of reason.

However, instead of directly rebutting my argument against Malthus and the Reproductive Health bill, which is one of the major issues in our discussion, you adduced a lot of unrelated issues and misrepresented and distorted some of my arguments. The issues that you should have addressed are the following:

  1. If your science tells you that we must “conserve”, how will it be done? a.) Through the use of government force (population control programs); b) Suppress economic and industrial activities; c) Stop scientific development since they use natural resources; d) all of the above?
  2. If you’re a defender of reason, you should know the impact of “population control” programs on freedom and individual rights. How will it affect you as an individual?
  3. What is the role of economics and technology in the improvement of man’s life?
  4. What is the ethical system that a man must embrace in order to live as a logical, rational, and productive human being? This issue is important because the ethical system that most Free-Farters embrace is the morality of, for, and by the lemmings: Altruism.
  5. What is the best and most moral political system that a man must support and establish in order to guarantee economic and scientific development, protect his rights and freedom, and ensure his survival from natural or man-made calamities?

Another pathetic, hilarious point you made is the following: “You are confusing an a priori proposition with an a posteriori proposition. That is an error in elementary logic.”

That statement reveals why you are so deeply flawed in your way of reasoning. It reveals why you don’t even see the danger of the Malthusian population principles and the Reproductive Health bill. It shows you’re simply parroting what you learned in your philosophy and science classes without even understanding them.

Now let me tell you what’s wrong with this “elementary logic”— a priori and a posteriori dichotomy by Immanuel Kant. Kant’s analytic-synthetic dichotomy is nothing but an illogical concoction that aims to undercut man’s cognitive function. This dichotomy, characterized by equivocations and circumlocutions, naturally results in the specious precept that a factual proposition cannot be necessarily true, and that a necessarily true proposition cannot be factual.

Immanuel Kant’s analytic-synthetic dichotomy, which you embrace and which is the result of some people’s inability to identify that logic is our only method of cognition, must be repudiated, discarded as false because it commits two certain forms of errors— 1) metaphysical, which is the split between contingent facts and necessary; and 2) epistemological, which is an invalid view of the nature of concepts.

Since you think that Ayn Rand’s philosophy of science and epistemology is “very outdated” (though I’m pretty sure you didn’t read any of her books), let me quote her:

“The failure to recognize that logic is man’s method of cognition, has produced a brood of artificial splits and dichotomies which represent restatements of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy from various aspects. Three in particular are prevalent today: logical truth vs. factual truth; the logically possible vs. the empirically possible; and the a priori vs. the a posteriori. The theory of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy presents men with the following choice: If your statement is proved, it says nothing about that which exists; if it is about existents, it cannot be proved. If it is demonstrated by logical argument, it represents a subjective convention; if it asserts a fact, logic cannot establish it. If you validate it by an appeal to the meanings of your concepts, then it is cut off from reality; if you validate it by an appeal to your percepts, then you cannot be certain of it.”[5]

Now allow me to make my personal observation of your ignorance and the fatal contradiction in your Popperian, Kantian, and mystical philosophical perspective. If you’re really aware of the significance and of the function of logic, you would have readily and easily grasped what’s wrong with the Reproductive Health bill and the Malthusian idea of “ecological conservatism.” I’m talking of the practical, reality-based application of logic. We don’t only learn logic or philosophy by studying at UP or any so-called sophisticated school in the country. In fact most of our philosophy professors are Kantian. For your information, Ayn Rand regarded Immanuel Kant as her intellectual enemy.

In this blog I stated why Kant is Ms. Rand’s intellectual adversary:

“Ayn Rand considered Immanuel Kant her intellectual enemy. Kant, according to her, did not directly destroy reason; his works were designed to distort the concept of reason. The main tenet of the philosophy of Objectivism is “existence exist” and its metaphysics is “objective reality.” Kant’s philosophy is the total opposite of Objectivism. Kant divided man’s world into two: the phenomenal world, which is not reality, and the noumenal world, which is unknowable. Logic tells us that if the noumenal world is unknowable or cannot be perceived by man’s mind, how did Kant discover it? Did he discover it through the help of an unknowable mystical being? The philosophy of Kant waged war on man’s mind and this is the reason why Ayn Rand called him her greatest intellectual enemy. As a philosopher, Ayn Rand understood the role of philosophy in destroying or improving man’s mind. Kant was indeed the “witch doctor” of the Middle Ages whose intention was to close the door of philosophy to reason. We have seen the influence of his philosophy today. His followers and the mini-Kantians of today are simply carrying on the destruction of man’s mind.”

If you really thought that you’re good at logic, philosophy, and science, then you would have known the danger of the RH bill and environmentalism or ecological conservatism. Logic is not merely about memorizing Kantian principles or the obsolete, mystical, irrational philosophies of Kripke, Quine, Russell, Wittgenstein, Frege and “the rest of the analytical schools of philosophy.”

I have clearly argued the reason why I’m strongly opposed to the RH bill, and I have yet to see your detailed, logical explanation why this socialist legislation must be enacted into law. Your support to this evil bill and ecological conservation is the practical, real-world, or reality-based application of your logic, philosophy, and everything you learned in college.

If you really want to destroy Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, better start reading her books and don’t just rely on second-hand information like what your fellow Free-Farter did. Get back to reality and try to learn more!

I suggest that you read the books of Ayn Rand, particularly her non-fiction books, and then compare them to the irrational, third-rate philosophers you encountered in college or in your reading. Try to learn more about: “Karl Popper’s Assault on Science.”


[1] Rand, A. (1990). Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.  New York: Plume.

[2] Rand, A. (1963). For the New Intellectual. New York: Signet

[3] Rand, A. (1984). Philosophy: Who Needs It. New York: Signet, 24

[3] Politis, V. (2004). Routledge Philosophy Guide to Aristotle and Metaphysics. New York: Routledge

[5] Rand, A. (1990). Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. New York: Plume,126

59 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2010 3:38

    Cogito ergo sum an absolute? This is the funniest, stupidest thing I’ve ever read online. OK. Nuff with your science, Pecier because you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. Also, yes, you’re just parroting Popperian perspective which was already debunked.
    Perhaps tell us what you think is the best system in order for that science to survive:
    a. How do you view reality?
    2. What is your epistemology then?
    3. What is your morality?
    4. What is your politics?
    5. Why do you think we have to integrate the stuff I mentioned above?
    And oh, that illogical analytic-synthetic dichotomy by Kant had already been debunked by Ayn Rand. So there’s no use teaching this drivel in college!

    • April 17, 2010 3:38

      Well, did I ever claim originality in my arguments? No. On the contrary, I said it very explicitly that the arguments I made were well-known valid arguments.

      Q&A now.

      1. How do you view reality?

      A: Reality is out there, of course. And we have a way to gain objective knowledge of its nature, and that way is science.

      2. What is your epistemology then?

      A: My epistemology is a logical compromise between rationalism and empiricism. The main guiding posts of my epistemology are the philosophies of the analytical philosophers.

      3. What is your morality?

      A: A virtue ethics founded on humanity, love, ambition, honesty, the courageous search for truth and a healthy skepticism.

      4. What is your politics?

      A: I am still working on it. But if you want my idea, kindly refer to my comment below.

      5. Why do you think we have to integrate the stuff I mentioned above?

      A: Because a person’s worldview must hang together, and not fall apart under scrutiny.

      You also said, “And oh, that illogical analytic-synthetic dichotomy by Kant had already been debunked by Ayn Rand. So there’s no use teaching this drivel in college!”

      Debunked by Ayn Rand? Excuse me, but is your mind logical at all? Because if it is, then laughter must be your first reaction to Rand’s “debunking” of Kant. If you want to know why, kindly wait for my reply.

      If you want a real challenge to the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, go read Quine.

      And by the way, here’s a challenge. Kindly deduce from “A is A” the exact mass of the Higgs boson, if it exists. Also, kindly deduce from “existence exists” (another laughable phrase from Rand that’s obviously wrong to anyone logical enough) the form of the theory that will incorporate gravity into the grand unified scheme.

      • April 17, 2010 3:38

        “Reality is out there, of course. And we have a way to gain objective knowledge of its nature, and that way is science.”

        — That’s almost a bryonic view of reality. Almost Kantian.

        “My epistemology is a logical compromise between rationalism and empiricism. The main guiding posts of my epistemology are the philosophies of the analytical philosophers.”

        — Rationalism and Empiricism are Kantian’s, Hume’s, Popper’s view of epistemology that reject objective reality, induction, and the law of identity. That has been debunked already.

        “A virtue ethics founded on humanity, love, ambition, honesty, the courageous search for truth and a healthy skepticism.”

        — Now that’s a floating abstraction. When you say my morality is founded on humanity, love, ambition, honesty, the courageous search for truth and a healthy skepticism– these are floating abstraction tossed into one single code if ethics– Altruism, which I consider evil.

        “I am still working on it. But if you want my idea, kindly refer to my comment below.”

        — See? Very Kantian. A philosophy must be well-integrated. Your epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, politics, and even arts should not contradict each other. I don’t know if you understand the connection between and among these branches of philosophy, but they really clash with each other.

        “Because a person’s worldview must hang together, and not fall apart under scrutiny.”

        — Now this is a very vague, ambiguous answer, which reveals that you don’t really understand the so many drivels you got from your professors and reading.

        “Debunked by Ayn Rand? Excuse me, but is your mind logical at all? Because if it is, then laughter must be your first reaction to Rand’s “debunking” of Kant. If you want to know why, kindly wait for my reply.”

        “If you want a real challenge to the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, go read Quine.”

        — It’s clearly you who’s gonna have an awful lot of reading because you simply don’t understand the concept of that dichotomy.

      • April 17, 2010 3:38

        I don’t have time to deal with a person who know very little about philosophy and who simply mopped up the teachings of anti-reason philosophers. Here’s how your rationalism and empiricism have been DEBUNKED:

        Critical Rationalism has also been referred to, by Popper himself and by others, as the theory of falsification, or falsificationism, and as fallibilism. It would be tempting, for the sake of brevity, to employ ‘fallibilism’ throughout, but the term is also associated with the founder of Pragmatism, C.S. Peirce, who actually coined it long before Popper began his career.4 This paper therefore follows the lead of later Popperians such as W.W. Bartley III5 and David Miller6 in employing Critical Rationalism, which in any case better encompasses Popper’s thought.

        The Critical Rationalism of Karl Popper [henceforth CR] begins by rejecting induction as a scientific method. The actual method of science, Popper maintained, is a continuous process of conjecture and refutation: “The way in which knowledge progresses, and especially our scientific knowledge, is by unjustified (and unjustifiable) anticipations, by guesses, by tentative solutions to our problems, by conjectures. These conjectures are controlled by criticism; that is, by attempted refutations, which include severely critical tests. They may survive these tests; but they can never be positively justified: they can be established neither as certainly true nor even as ‘probable’…” [C&R vii].

        Elsewhere, Popper put the matter more succinctly: “all knowledge is hypothetical” [OKN 30] or “All knowledge remains… conjectural” [RASC xxxv]; and it is in the form ‘all knowledge is conjectural’ that the essence of his philosophy has been captured – and has influenced others.7

        CR was originally developed by Popper to demarcate science from non-science. He stated that for scientific knowledge to be considered knowledge it had to be refutable: “‘In so far as scientific statements refer to the world of experience, they must be refutable … in so far as they are irrefutable, they do not refer to the world of experience'” [OSE2 13].

        It follows that we can never attain certainty: “The quest for certainty… is mistaken…. though we may seek for truth… we can never be quite certain that we have found it” [OSE2 375]. “No particular theory may ever be regarded as absolutely certain…. No scientific theory is sacrosanct…” [OKN 360]. “Precision and certainty are false ideals. They are impossible to attain and therefore dangerously misleading…” [UNQ 24]. He summed up with an oft-repeated aphorism: “We never know what we are talking about” [UNQ 27].

        Accordingly, Popper refused to grant any philosophical value to definitions: “Definitions do not play any very important part in science…. Our ‘scientific knowledge’… remains entirely unaffected if we eliminate all definitions” [OSE2 14]. “Definitions never give any factual knowledge about ‘nature’ or about the ‘nature of things'” [C&R 20-21]. “Definitions…. are never really needed, and rarely of any use” [RASC xxxvi].

        Although he held these positions all his working life, Popper did acknowledge that they were open to criticism: “nothing is exempt from criticism … not even this principle of the critical method itself” [OSE2 379].

        2. THE FIRST PREMISE OF CRITICAL RATIONALISM

        Popper built his philosophy on foundations borrowed from Hume and Kant. His first premise was wholehearted acceptance of Hume’s attack on induction. The second, to be addressed in the next section, was agreement with Kant’s view that it is our ideas which give form to reality, not reality which gives form to our ideas.

        Hume, whom Popper called “one of the most rational minds of all ages” [PKP2 1019], is renowned for elaborating the ‘problem of induction’ – a supposedly logical proof that generalisations from observation are invalid. Most later philosophers have accepted Hume’s arguments, and libraries have been filled with attempts to solve his ‘problem.’

        Popper thought he had the answer. “I believed I had solved the problem of induction by the simple discovery that induction by repetition did not exist” [UNQ 52; c.f. OKN 1ff & PKP2 1115]. What really took place, according to Popper, was CR, knowledge advancing by means of conjecture and refutation: “… in my view here is no such thing as induction” [LSCD 40]; “what characterises the empirical method is its manner of exposing to falsification, in every conceivable way, the system to be tested” [LSCD 42].

        Hume, said Popper, had shown that: “there is no argument of reason which permits an inference from one case to another… and I completely agree” [OKN 96]. Elsewhere he referred to induction as “a myth” which had been “exploded” by Hume [UNQ 80]. He further asserted that “There is no rule of inductive inference – inference leading to theories or universal laws – ever proposed which can be taken seriously even for a minute” [UNQ 146-7; see also RASC 31].

        The Problem with ‘The Problem’

        Popper’s solution was certainly correct in one respect. The problem of induction would indeed vanish if there were no such thing as induction. However, the issue would be resolved much more positively were it to turn out that Hume had been wrong, and that there never had been any problem with induction in the first place. And, in point of fact, this is the case. Despite his great skill as a thinker and writer, Hume missed the point. Induction does not depend for its validity on observation, but on the Law of Identity.

        Hume stated, in essence, that since all ideas are derived from experience we cannot have any valid ideas about future events – which have yet to be experienced. He therefore denied that the past can give us any information about the future. He further denied that there is any necessary connection between cause and effect. We experience only repeated instances, we cannot experience any “power” that actually causes events to take place. Events are entirely “loose and separate…. conjoined but never connected.”8

        According to Hume, then, one has no guarantee that the hawthorn in an English hedge will not bear grapes next autumn, nor that the thistles in a nearby field won’t produce figs. The expectation that the thorn will produce red berries, and the thistles purple flowers, is merely the result of “regular conjunction” which induces an “inference of the understanding.”9 In Hume’s view, there is no such thing as objective identity, there is only subjective “custom” or “habit.”

        However, Hume also wrote: “When any opinion leads to absurdities, it is certainly false”10 and the idea that one might gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles is surely absurd enough to qualify. And false is what Hume’s opinions most certainly are. Left standing, they lead to what he himself called “the flattest of all contradictions, viz. that it is possible for the same thing both to be and not to be.”11

        The crux of the case against Hume was stated in 1916 by H.W.B. Joseph in An Introduction to Logic: “A thing, to be at all, must be something, and can only be what it is. To assert a causal connexion between a and x implies that a acts as it does because it is what it is; because, in fact, it is a. So long therefore as it is a, it must act thus; and to assert that it may act otherwise on a subsequent occasion is to assert that what is a is something else than the a which it is declared to be.”12 Hume’s whole argument – persuasive though it may be – is, to borrow Joseph’s words, “in flat conflict with the Law of Identity.”13

        Existence implies identity. It is not possible to exist without being something, and a thing can only be what it is: A is A. Any actions of that thing form part of its identity: “the way in which it acts must be regarded as a partial expression of what it is.”14 Thus to deny any connection between a thing, its actions, and their consequences, is to assert that the thing is not what it is; it is to defy the Law of Identity.

        It is not necessary to prolong this discussion. Entities exist. They possess identity. By careful observation – free from preconception – we are able to discover the identities of the entities we observe. Thereafter, we are fully entitled to assume that like entities will cause like events, the form of inference we call induction. And, because it rests on the axiom of the Law of Identity, correct induction – free from contradiction – is a valid route to knowledge. The first premise of CR is therefore false.

        There is nonetheless a substantial grain of truth in Hume’s position, or few philosophers would have followed him. The grain lies in the precision of our knowledge of future events. Hume denied all knowledge of the future because we can have no experience of it. As we have seen, this is not true, it overlooks the Law of Identity. What is true, is that our prediction of events is limited by the unforeseeable. An ‘O’ ring may fail and destroy an otherwise reliable spacecraft; an icy road surface may cause a pristine Rolls-Royce to crash. For, no matter how sound our judgement nor wide our experience, we cannot possibly have complete, certain and absolute knowledge of future events. We are not omniscient: all kinds of unforeseen happenings may intervene to spoil even the best laid of our plans. Further, new information about old subjects continuously comes to light and, over time, things can evolve or change. Nonetheless, armed with the Law of Identity, there is no reason to allow the unforeseeable to turn us into sceptics. The universe is not a series of “loose and separate events” any more than time is a series of discrete, unrelated segments of duration.

        It should also be noted that, in fact, all knowledge of entities, and all knowledge of language, is acquired inductively. A child’s knowledge of apples, for example, is based on a very limited sampling. A student’s knowledge of the word ‘inference’ is founded on a similarly narrow acquaintance. If it were true that induction is a myth, then all knowledge of external reality, all language, and all human thought – which depends on knowledge of reality and on language – would be myths as well, including, of course, CR.

        3. POPPER’S KANTIAN PREMISE

        Popper described himself as an “unorthodox Kantian” [UNQ 82]; i.e., he accepted part of Kant’s epistemology, but not all of it: “Kant was right that it is our intellect which imposes its laws – its ideas, its rules – upon the inarticulate mass of our ‘sensations’ and thereby brings order to them. Where he was wrong is that he did not see that we rarely succeed with our imposition” [OKN 68n31; c.f. OKN 328, C&R 48-9].

        Popper’s Kantianism reveals itself most clearly in his view of our senses, which he saw as creative modifiers of incoming data, not as neutral ‘windows on the world’: “Classical epistemology which takes our sense perceptions as ‘given’, as the ‘data’ from which our theories have to be constructed by some process of induction, can only be described as pre-Darwinian. It fails to take account of the fact that the alleged data are … adaptive reactions, and therefore interpretations which incorporate theories and prejudices and which, like theories, are impregnated with conjectural expectations… there can be no pure perception, no pure datum…” [OKN 145].15

        A Fundamental Difficulty

        Popper’s Kantian premise raises enough issues for a book. In this short paper, there is room only for a single objection. Namely, if it is true that our senses are pre-programmed; if it is true that “there is no sense organ in which anticipatory theories are not genetically incorporated” [OKN 72]; then what flows into our minds is determined and what flows out of them is subjective. If our senses are not neutral, if they organise incoming data using pre-set theories built into them by evolution, then they do not provide us with unalloyed information, but only with prescriptions, the content of which is determined by our genetic make up. Whatever is thereafter produced inside our heads – cut off as it is from any objective contact with reality – must be subjective.

        Popper’s Kantian premise thus deprives CR of universality. Since it is ultimately the product of the pre-programmed interpretation of the data which entered Popper’s mind, CR is a theory which can only be applied to Popper. According to his own view of his contact with reality, he would not be able to verify the relevance of CR to anybody else.

        Solipsism looms, yes, but that is a natural consequence of all theories of determinism. For if thought, or the basis of thought, is determined; whether by social class, or the subconscious, or whatever determinant is preferred; then the deterministic theory itself must be determined, according to the theory, and can only be relevant to the person who expounds it. Everybody else is determined by their class, subconscious, genes, material substrate, environment, or whatever it is that is supposed to do the determining. All theories of determinism are, to use Brand Blanshard’s term, ‘self-stultifying.’16

        The objection is analogous to the one raised by Anthony Flew against those philosophers – e.g. Hume and Kant – who claim that we can only have knowledge of our own sense impressions. If sense data are all we can know, solipsism is the inevitable result: “mental images …. are (necessarily) private … and (logically) cannot be accessible to public observation.”17

        Objectivity

        In Unended Quest Popper observed bluntly that “there is no such thing as an unprejudiced observation” [UNQ 51]. Although this appears to rule out the possibility of objectivity, that was not Popper’s intention. Rather, again following Kant perhaps, he thought the basis for objectivity lay elsewhere: “the objectivity of scientific statements lies in the fact that they can be inter-subjectively tested” [LSCD 44]. He later restated this slightly differently: “it is the public character of science… which preserves the objectivity of science” [POH 155-6].

        Unfortunately, these assertions do not bear the weight placed upon them. For if Popper’s Kantian premise were true (i.e., if anticipatory theories are genetically incorporated into our sense organs and, therefore, there is no such thing as an unprejudiced observation) then senses would not cease to be prejudiced merely by being multiplied. The defective logic could hardly be more clear. One cannot offer as an universal affirmative proposition ‘all human senses are prejudiced, i.e. subjective’ then ask one’s readers to accept that pooling the senses of many persons yields objectivity. If senses are subjective individually they are subjective collectively.18

        To conclude under this head, it is plain – even after only a very brief treatment – that Popper’s Kantian premise, far from providing CR with a secure footing, leads instead to insuperable problems, not least of which are conflicts with Popper’s own rejection of determinism and subjectivism in such works as The Poverty of Historicism and The Open Universe.

        CONTINUE: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/philn/philn065.htm

      • That's BS permalink
        April 18, 2010 3:38

        “My epistemology is a logical compromise between rationalism and empiricism. The main guiding posts of my epistemology are the philosophies of the analytical philosophers.”

        Philosophers came to be divided into two camps: those who claimed that man obtains his knowledge of the world by deducing it exclusively from concepts, which come from inside his head and are not derived from the perception of physical facts (the Rationalists)—and those who claimed that man obtains his knowledge from experience, which was held to mean: by direct perception of immediate facts, with no recourse to concepts (the Empiricists). To put it more simply: those who joined the [mystics] by abandoning reality—and those who clung to reality, by abandoning their mind.

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        @Objectivist Cowboy

        You said “That’s almost a bryonic view of reality. Almost Kantian.”

        Talk about vague.

        You said “Rationalism and Empiricism are Kantian’s [sic], Hume’s, Popper’s view of epistemology that reject objective reality, induction, and the law of identity. That has been debunked already.”

        Excuse me, but have you read Kant, Hume, Popper or any one of the analytic philosophers? They “reject objective reality, induction and the law of identity”? Got evidence? “That has been debunked already.” Again, got evidence? Do you have evidence, or are you only parroting Rand? And by the way, English lesson: “Kantian” is an adjective, so it does not have a possessive form.

        You said “Now that’s a floating abstraction. When you say my morality is founded on humanity, love, ambition, honesty, the courageous search for truth and a healthy skepticism– these are floating abstraction tossed into one single code if ethics– Altruism, which I consider evil.”

        Boy, you love jumping into conclusions, do you?

        “See? Very Kantian. A philosophy must be well-integrated. Your epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, politics, and even arts should not contradict each other. I don’t know if you understand the connection between and among these branches of philosophy, but they really clash with each other.”

        Yes, a philosophy must be well-integrated. That’s why I am working on a well-integrated and coherent philosophy. I am still working on it because I am an independent thinker, unlike some people here who just take second-hand worldviews and philosophies without understanding the other competing worldviews and philosophies and saying that the other philosophies have been “debunked” even if they have not read any of these philosophies.

        I said “Because a person’s worldview must hang together, and not fall apart under scrutiny.”

        Your answer was “Now this is a very vague, ambiguous answer, which reveals that you don’t really understand the so many drivels you got from your professors and reading.”

        Kindly develop your reading comprehension skills more.

        You said “It’s clearly you who’s gonna have an awful lot of reading because you simply don’t understand the concept of that dichotomy.”

        I’ll hazard a guess: you haven’t read Quine, have you? How about any of the other philosophers you consider “debunked”? And you really like jumping into conclusions, do you? I guess that reveals a lot regarding your skills in logic (or, better yet, your lack thereof).

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        @Objectivist Cowboy

        If you actually finished reading the whole article, you would have read this passage in the splendid article’s conclusion:

        “The Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand was referred to earlier. Although as unacademic as Popper was academic, Rand did share with him a number of philosophic premises; such as dedication to metaphysical realism, opposition to conceptual realism, and rejection of determinism and subjectivism. Indeed Wallace Matson has suggested that Rand and Popper had “much in common.” His view has been partially endorsed by Robert Hollinger, who has written of “parallels” between the two thinkers.49″ [Debunking Popper: A Critique of Karl Popper’s Critical Rationalism, Nicholas Dykes]

        Oops. Looks like someone Googles an article and copy-pastes it here without even reading the article in its entirety. Tsk, tsk.

      • Markie Mark permalink
        April 21, 2010 3:38

        Here’s what pecier said:

        “Reality is out there, of course. And we have a way to gain objective knowledge of its nature, and that way is science.”

        — This is really painfully hilarious. Does pecier really know what’s he’s talking about? Metaphysics is a branch of science that tackles one understanding of reality? Are there two realities? Is it subjective or objective? What an ignoramus!

        “My epistemology is a logical compromise between rationalism and empiricism.”
        — a compromise? this shows that this guy is ignorant of the true function, purpose of logic. which is about man’s process of cognition. Rationalism rejects objective reality and the law of identity while empiricism has all the trappings of kantian philosophy.

        “A virtue ethics founded on humanity, love, ambition, honesty, the courageous search for truth and a healthy skepticism.”

        Here’s another proof that pecier is totally ignorant of the concept of ethics. Ethics must be wholly integrated into one’s understanding of metaphysics and epistemology. How is his “virtue of ethics founded on humanity, love, honesty, etc.” related to his epistemology and metaphysics? Besides, he’s talking about floating abstractions. Does this guy really know what he’s talking about, or he simply mimicked what his professors taught him?

        About his politics: “I am still working on it. But if you want my idea, kindly refer to my comment below.”

        — Another proof that he’s an ignoramus! He should know that if he truly understood the relation between the fundamental branches of philosophy (e.g., metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics) he could have easily thought of the most moral and rational political system that every man should embrace!

        It’s very clear who’s the real ignoramus here, and it’s pecier…

    • April 17, 2010 3:38

      No, THIS is the funniest thing you’ll read in the web: “…that illogical analytic-synthetic dichotomy by Kant had already been debunked by Ayn Rand. ‘”

      • April 17, 2010 3:38

        @ Pecier.
        Since your crude, poor, illogical, and downright stupid understanding of philosophy is largely based on the anti-reason teachings of Immanuel Kant and his lesser minions, this is how your idol had been DISPROVED:

        Ayn Rand considers Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and his philosophy to be evil and condemns what she perceives as the intended goal, methods, and conclusions of his philosophical arguments. She accused Kant of hating life, man, and reason. Rand observed that, since Kant, the dominant trend in philosophy has been aimed at the destruction of the human mind and that a philosophy seeking to destroy man’s mind is a philosophy of hatred for man, his life, and all human values. In Kant’s teachings, Rand saw contempt and detestation of the strong, able, successful, virtuous, confident, and the happy. It follows that Rand’s own philosophical system was an attempt to exalt happiness and to answer and oppose Kant’s epistemology and ethical theory. It is no wonder that Tibor Machan called his chapter on Kant “Rand’s Moriarty” in his book, Ayn Rand. The purpose of this essay is to explain the reasons for Rand’s hatred of Kant. In order to do this, Kant’s ideas will be given a distinctly Randian interpretation in this paper.

        Kant Answers Hume
        The main philosophical issue as viewed by Immanuel Kant was to save science by answering skeptic David Hume (1711-1776), who declared that man’s mind was only a collection of perceptions in which there are no causal connections. Hume argued that all knowledge is from experience and that we are incapable of experiencing causality. He explained that causality, as well as entities, are only true by association and customary belief. Causality is merely man’s habit of associating things together because of experiencing them together in the past. Necessary connections between objects or events are not implied by experiences of priority, contiguity, and constant conjunction.

        Hume alleged that experience does not give us necessity or mustness. He said that things are contingently true, but that they could be otherwise. We can imagine them being different than what we have experienced in the past. Just because something occurred in a certain way in the past does not mean that it has to occur in the same way in the future. We cannot say with certainty that there are objects, identity, causality, order, and other laws of reality. Hume’s conclusion was that we are forced to be skeptics. Science is thus destroyed at its foundation because science deals with causal connections.

        David Hume had contended that neither inductive nor deductive reasoning can supply men with real, certain, and necessary knowledge. He asserted that he has never seen “causality” nor experienced “self” or “consciousness.” According to Hume, men merely experience a fleeting flow of sensations and feelings. He also observed that the apparent existence of something did not guarantee that it would be there an instant later. Hume thus surmised that consciousness was limited to the perceptual level of awareness.

        Desiring to refute Hume’s conclusions, Kant searched for the perceptual manifestation of necessity. In order to avoid the conclusions reached by Hume, it was essential for Kant to build a formidable philosophical structure.

        The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy
        Kant divided propositions into two types – analytic which are true by definition and synthetic which assert empirical facts. He said that analytic statements are logically true but provide no information about reality and that synthetic statements provide information about reality but cannot be logically proven. Analytic truths can be validated through an analysis of the meanings of its component concepts and synthetic propositions cannot be validated through an analysis of the definitions of its constituent concepts. Analytic truths are necessary, logical, and tautological whereas synthetic truths are contingent, unprovable and factual. According to Kant, one cannot irrefutably prove a synthetic proposition.

        For Kant, analytical truths are logical and can be validated independent of experience. These propositions are a priori and non-empirical. On the other hand, he said that synthetic propositions or truths are empirical, a posteriori, and dependent upon experience in order to be validated. Kant contended that analytic propositions provide no information about reality and that synthetic ones are factual but are uncertain, unprovable, and contingent.

        According to Rand, there is no basis upon which to differentiate analytic propositions from synthetic ones. Her theory of concepts undermines Kant’s idea of an analytic-synthetic dichotomy. For Rand, concepts express classifications of observed existents according to their relationship to other observed entities. Rand explains that a concept refers to the actual existents which it integrates including all their characteristics currently known and those not yet known. She argued that concepts subsume all of the attributes of the existents to which they refer and not simply the ones included in the definition. Her objective theory of concepts is the tool she used to abrogate Kant’s analytic-synthetic dichotomy.

        Kant’s analytic truths are in reality contingent upon what is included in the espoused “meaning” of a concept. The way Kant formulates his theory allows a person to validate a concept merely by including an attribute in the meaning of a concept. Choices are made regarding what characteristics are included in a definition and which are not. Depending upon whether or not a specific characteristic is included in the definition determines whether or not the characteristic is a necessary one or merely a contingent one!

        The Nature of A Priori Knowledge
        In his attempt to refute Hume, Kant declared that there were synthetic a priori categories or concepts built into the human mind. Kant argued that concepts are certain inherent features of human consciousness. Man’s basic concepts (e.g., time, space, entity, causality, etc.) are not derived from reality or experience, but instead stem from an automatic system of filters in his consciousness. These filters, which he called categories and forms of perception, dictate their own structure on his perception and conception of the external world thus making it impossible for him to perceive and conceive it in any other way than the one in which in fact he does perceive and conceive it. Empirical reality, according to Kant, conforms to the mind of man which lays down a “grid,” consisting of the categories and the intuitions of time and space, over “things in themselves.” Because men have no choice in whether or not they apply this grid to experience, it follows that people cannot know the real world and can only have appearances as our minds have created them.

        According to Kant, the a priori includes what is in the mind before one has any sense experiences plus whatever judgments the mind is capable of making which are not based on sense experience. The forms of space and time and the transcendental categories are innate in the mind and comprise its structure prior to a person’s sense experience. He says that the common experience that everyone shares has the appearance and character it does because it has been given the makeup it has by the inherent structure of the human mind.

        Phenomenal and Noumenal Reality
        Kant attempted to demonstrate that the world that we experience is not the real world. The real world does not include our species concepts of space, time, entity, causality, and so on. He contended that the phenomenal world of appearances that we experience is metaphysically inferior to the noumenal world of true reality. The noumenal world is the world of things in themselves, higher truth, and real reality.

        Kant explains that the phenomenal world is the world of earthly physical reality including man’s senses, perceptions, reason, and science. This phenomenal world, as perceived by a man’s mind, is a distortion or misrepresentation of the real world. Kant contends that the distorting mechanism is man’s conceptual faculty itself. He argued that that what the human mind perceives and conceives the world to be is not the world as it really is but rather as it appears to a specifically structured human reasoning faculty.

        Kant’s Attack on Consciousness
        Kant laments the fact that a person can only perceive and comprehend things through his own consciousness. He also explains that men are limited to a consciousness of a particular nature which perceives and conceives through particular means. For Kant, man’s knowledge lacks validity because his consciousness possesses identity. According to Kant, knowledge, to be valid, must not be processed in any way of consciousness. Kant’s criterion for truth is to perceive “things in themselves” unprocessed by any consciousness. For Kant only knowledge independent of perception is valid. Unfortunately, such knowledge is impossible!

        He argues that human knowledge is subjective because it is not relevant to “things in themselves.” Real truth is unknowable because to know it a person would have to relate to reality directly without depending upon his conceptual mechanism. For Kant, the real is the object “in itself” out of all relation to a subject. This means that the consciousness or awareness of things cannot be mediated by any process or faculty whose nature affects the appearance of the object because any process or faculty would distort one’s perceptual awareness. According to Kant, everything is merely phenomenal that is relative and everything is relative that is an object with respect to a conscious subject. Kant is looking for knowledge that could be called absolute, unqualified, pure, or diaphanous.

        Kant maintains that identity, which itself is the essence of existence, invalidates consciousness. Any knowledge attained by a process of consciousness is inescapably subjective and therefore cannot match the facts of reality, because it is processed or altered knowledge. Whereas all consciousness is a relationship between a subject and an object, it follows that for a person to acquire a knowledge of what is real, he would have to go outside of his consciousness. To know what is true a man would have to abandon his own nature, which is an absurd impossibility. In order to know true reality requires a consciousness not limited by any specific means of cognition. This is the criterion or goal of Kant’s argument.

        Ayn Rand sees the Kantian argument as an attack on all forms of consciousness. Because consciousness exists, it possesses particular means and forms of cognition and thus is invalidated by Kant as a faculty of cognition. It follows that because men depend upon the type of mental constitution they have, that man’s mind is impotent, reality is unknowable, and knowledge is merely an illusion. According to Kant, if consciousness possesses its own identity, then it cannot grasp the identity of anything external to it. The Kantian argument thus divorces reason from reality. Reason, according to Kant, is limited, only deals with appearances, and is unable to perceive reality or “things as they are in themselves.” Reason is powerless to deal with the fundamental metaphysical concerns of existence which properly reside in the noumenal world which is unknowable.

        Kant’s Gimmick
        For Kant, the cognitive structure that all men have in common is what creates the phenomenal world. Man’s innate mental structure is what gives rise to the empirical world. Kant explains that man’s categories or concepts form a collective delusion from which no human being can escape. In essence, Kant’s gimmick involved switching the collective for the objective when he advanced the idea of common mental categories collectively creating a phenomenal world. He also reassigned the validity of reason from its place in the objective world to the collective delusional world. Reality as perceived by man’s mind is a distortion and man’s mind is a distorting faculty.

        Kant’s concern is with judgments that can be known with certainty. He says that this disqualifies reason because of a priori limitations on what can be known via reason. Because the mind’s categories are limited to appearances, knowledge of the real world is foreclosed. The inability to know reality leads to relativism and skepticism.

        Pure Reason, Duty, and Good Will
        According to Kant, the deepest level of reality is inaccessible to human rationality. For him, rational certainty is impossible. He says that to “know” the other higher reality that is teleologically ordered and exempt from time, space, causality, etc., a man needs to turn to feeling, intuition, or faith that exists in the form of pure a priori judgments or intuitions. Kant’s solution was to try to demonstrate that the “real” and the “ought” rests in something called pure reason that is metaphysically intrinsic to all persons. He said that the “real” and the “ought” are different form what we know through experience. Kant contends that intellectual intuition (i.e., pure reason) has the function of accessing these a priori ideas.

        Kant assigns one’s emotions the power to know the metaphysically superior “unknowable” noumenal world by indefinable means that he termed “pure reason.” Pure reason resides in a special inexplicable or incomprehensible instinct for duty. Duty is a categorical impulse that one “just knows.” Kant held that an action is moral only if a person performs it out of a special sense of duty. Morality is therefore derived through feelings from the noumenal dimension of reality. Duty involves inspiration supplied by, or emanating from, noumenal reality itself. Given his reliance on the noumenal realm, Kant makes morality appear to be mystical.

        According to Kant, a person must act from duty which he views as an act of pure or abject selflessness. One’s duty is thus to sacrifice himself to duty which is a dictate of pure reason. Moral duties are categorical imperatives that hold for all rational beings with absolute certainty regardless of their desires, individual characteristics, and other contingent factors. Kant’s fundamental principle of morality thus binds a person independently of any particular ends or preferences he may have. Kantian morality pertains to actions that apply categorically and that are good in themselves. Duty is the requirement to act out of respect of the moral law rather than from one’s desires or inclinations.

        Kant declared that his altruist morality was derived from pure reason. He said that only “knowledge” of the concept of duty from pure reason can succeed in deriving the moral law. Kant views morality as a set of rules embedded in pure reason. Pure reason or intellectual intuition is the means used to gain moral knowledge.

        Kant maintains that a person should do what conforms to having a good will and that the ought is inherent in pure reason. For Kant the good will, the will acting from duty, is unconditionally good. He argues that the good will, separate from any consequences, is an end in itself.

        According to Kant, morality has its basis in a law of the will. He says that an action is morally good if it flows form a good will. A will is unconditionally good when it acts purely and solely out of a sense of duty and for the sake of duty. A will thus acts for the sake of duty when it acts out of pure respect for moral law. A person’s good will is primary and acting for the sake of duty is the ultimate good.

        Morality as A Priori
        The ought proceeds from the a priori and is embedded in the structures of the mind. Kant explains that the function of one’s will is to force obedience to the a priori. In effect, Kant’s reliance on the a priori is an effort to circumvent the formulation of concepts from observation by regarding certain concepts (e.g., duty) as self-evident and not dependent on the causal context that exists in nature. Kant’s profession of the moral a priori necessitates a perversion of the human functions of cognition and evaluation.

        Kant detaches morality from any concerns regarding man’s existence. For Kant, morality has no association with the material world, reason, or science. He states that an action is moral only if a person has no desire to perform it, but performs it totally out of a sense of duty and derives no benefit of any kind from it. Kant makes moral duty an obligation completely independent of a person’s desires and totally without any connection to factual considerations, including the facts of one’s human nature.
        Kant’s Rejection of Self-Interest
        Kant’s moral philosophy deprives self-interest of any and all honor. The rejection of self-interest is also a rejection of all human values and goals because to pursue one’s self interest means to pursue values and goals. For Kant, morality must bind a person independently of any specific desires, ends, or inclinations he may have. Kant’s idea of duty severs morality from both reason and values.

        Kant says that an act is moral only if no benefit of any kind is derived from it. He excludes all personal desires and benefits from the realm of morality. To be moral, a man must perform his duty without reference to any personal goals, values, or effects on his own life and happiness. A benefit destroys the moral value of an action. Kantian moral theory can thus be viewed as act-centered and not as agent-centered.

        What Kant has done is to allow man’s reason to conquer the material (i.e., the phenomenal) world but eliminates reason from the choice of the goals or ends for which men’s material achievements are to be employed. Kant assigned the unreal material world to science and reason but left morality to faith. Science and reason are limited and valid only as long as they are conceived with a fixed determined collective delusion. The higher reality, the noumenal world, dictates to man the rules of morality through a special manifestation, the categorical imperative, which involves a special sense of duty known through intuition or feeling.

        Duty is the moral requirement to perform certain actions without regard to any personal values, goals, motives, intentions, or desires. These a man should sacrifice from duty as an end in itself. An action is moral only if a person has no desire to perform it but performs it out of a sense of duty and receives no benefit from it of any kind. Kant thus denied that anything done to secure one’s own well-being and flourishing can have any moral significance. For Kant, morality does not and cannot involve the virtue of prudence (i.e., practical wisdom). He sees a distinct division between prudence and morality.
        Kant holds that the pursuit of a person’s own happiness or interest is of no moral worth whatsoever. He insists that we can never determine whether or not an action is good or right by considering its effect on one’s happiness. Kant explains that happiness is contingent upon conditions and factors outside of a person’s control and external to the human will. He contends that the ultimate purpose of human striving must reside in something that depends on the person alone and must be unconditionally good. It follows that the only unconditional and ultimate good is the good will.

        According to Kant, a person is amoral when he acts to attain his values. For Kant, all ends (except for the specifically moral) are reducible to a person’s own happiness, are nonmoral, and are incapable of producing any categorical imperatives. For Kant, what is necessary for a legitimate moral philosophy are obligations that are categorical (i.e., moral duties). The ethical is therefore what everyone ought to do.

        Kant contends that moral worth is intrinsic to the act and thus valuable in itself apart from any particular valuer. For Kant, a man’s natural end of happiness cannot be the foundation for moral motivation. Unlike Aristotle, Kant draws a sharp distinction between moral and nonmoral reasoning. Kant rejects any moral philosophy that holds a person’s happiness as his ultimate end and maintains that the determination of the moral is made without reference to a man’s desires and to the facts of his nature. For Kant, morality elevates man above the sensible world. He views prudence as nonmoral and self-interest as different from doing what is right to do.

        Kant provides a test for determining the moral status of various actions. He says that a person who performs his moral duty in the teeth of his contrary inclinations exhibits moral worth. On the other hand, a person who helps other people and gains pleasure from such actions displays no moral worth. Similarly, if a person wants to be honest he deserves nor moral credit. An individual who does not have a natural desire to help others or to be honest but nevertheless does so from duty does display moral worth.

        Rand’s Denunciation of Kant
        According to Ayn Rand, Kant’s objective was to save the morality of altruism, self-sacrifice, and self-abnegation. Kant’s vision of morality consists of total, abject, selflessness. Kantianism sharply opposes the pursuit of happiness to the practice of one’s duty. Kant’s morality of duty restricts the importance an individual’s experiences and thought and teaches that morality depends on adherence to a priori truths and on ignoring the real world. Rand thus saw Kantianism as a grand rationalization for Kant’s hatred of reason and reality and his view of the supremacy of the emotions. She interprets Kant as assigning reason supremacy over the material world and giving faith, intuition, and feeling domain over the spiritual realm. Rand views Kant and Hume as the two arch-destroyers of reason in modern history. In Rand’s view, Kant’s synthesis was responsible for espousing the idea that consciousness was ontologically prior to existence. Rand sees Kant as attacking both the efficacy of a man’s mind and objective reality at a metaphysical level. Rand’s perspective was that Kant was waging a war on the ability of the mind to comprehend the nature of reality. Rand vehemently disagrees with Kant’s defense of faith, intuition, and feeling as the valid means of dealing with the noumenal world. In her writings, Rand challenges Kant at his very philosophical root and base by rejecting Kant’s belief that the mind imposes structures on reality. She also condemns Kant as morally evil and dishonest (not simply as philosophically in error) with respect to his mystical philosophical system and the gradual cultural erosion that followed the initiation of it.

      • April 17, 2010 3:38

        @ Marti. Thanks for that wonderful post. I haven’t read that yet.

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        @L.C. Marti

        Oops, someone’s guilty of plagiarism. [Froi, kindly look up the definition of plagiarism; somebody just posted a plagiarized comment on your blog. Good thing I took snapshots.]

        Anyways, thanks for posting the article “Immanuel Kant: Ayn Rand’s Intellectual Enemy” by Edward W. Younkins. I’ll read it.

        Kant, my idol? Where did you get that? My idols are Bertrand Russell, Friedrich Nietzsche, Walter Kaufmann, Richard Feynman, Jane Goodall, Stephen Jay Gould, E.O. Wilson, David Hume, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Richard Dawkins and Douglas Adams. I don’t see no Kant in that list. Do you?

        And here’s one thing I observed from Mr. Younkins’ article: it’s not a proof and it doesn’t have a proof. You don’t even know the meaning of the word “proof” in philosophy. I guess it’s clear who’s ignorant.

    • April 17, 2010 3:38

      By the way, prove briefly why the Cogito is invalid. Write it clearly and explicitly, no BS allowed. Use any kind of proving method necessary (reductio ad absurdum, natural deduction, proof by contradiction, ect.).

      Why do I require you this? Because as it stands, Rand’s attack on the Cogito is BS where it is not invalid.

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        “Cogito ergo sum” is invalid because it validates the primacy of consciousness over existence as Vincenton argued in his post. It should be the primacy of existence over consciousness, thus “I am, therefore I’ll think.” Your claim that cogito ergo sum is an absolute truth is definitely wrong, invalid, and illogical. I have argued against the primacy of consciousness before.

        The fact that consciousness has an object means that consciousness cannot be self-contained. Consciousness is inherently something that points outside itself, to something else.

        This leads to the principle Ayn Rand named “the primacy of existence”: existence has primacy over consciousness. Consciousness is a secondary phenomenon: in order for an organism to be conscious of something, that something first has to exist.

        The primacy of existence is the recognition that existence is independent of consciousness; things exist and are what they are whether or not any organism is conscious of them. By the same token, consciousness is dependent on existence: consciousness has to have an object rather than being purely self-contained.

        (The contrary position, “the primacy of consciousness,” consists in treating consciousness as the independent, self-subsisting primary, with existence regarded as dependent on consciousness. An example of the primacy of consciousness is the religious notion of a disembodied spirit who wished the universe into being. Another example is Descartes’ hypothesis that the whole of reality could be a dream or delusion–i.e., exist only in one’s mind.)

        From one’s first grasp in early childhood of any action of one’s consciousness, one learns that existence, the object of awareness, is independent of that awareness. Leonard Peikoff writes:

        “From the outset, consciousness presents itself as something specific–as a faculty of perceiving an object, not of creating or changing it. For instance, a child may hate the food set in front of him and refuse even to look at it. But his inner state does not erase his dinner. Leaving aside physical action, the food is impervious; it is unaffected by a process of consciousness as such.”

        The primacy of existence is implicit in grasping the concept of “consciousness”–i.e., grasping that awareness is awareness of something. To form the concept of “consciousness,” one has to distinguish between the object and one’s awareness of it, and the only means of doing that is by grasping what changes and what is unchanged in varying conditions of perception (e.g., most simply, by closing and opening one’s eyes).
        The primacy of existence recognizes that consciousness can turn back on itself to make itself into an object. One can be conscious of one’s consciousness, through introspection. But introspection presupposes extrospection. One can introspect only after one has perceived existence; until then, one is not conscious and there is nothing to introspect. Consciousness precedes self-consciousness.

        “A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something.”

        To “identify itself as consciousness” requires making the distinction between subject and object, between self and the world, which presupposes that there is a world.

        The opposite view, the primacy of consciousness, was injected into post-Renaissance philosophy by Descartes. He recognized that consciousness must have an object, but raised the possibility that this object might itself be mental, not external. “What if,” he asked, in effect, “all that I am ever aware of are experiences inside my own mind, not external reality? How do I even know that there is an external reality?” He considered the existence of his consciousness to be axiomatic, but the existence of existence to be non-axiomatic, problematical.

        But to identify something as “an experience in my mind,” I have to contrast my mental experiences with something else. Without the contrast between the internal and the external, “internal” loses its meaning. “Everything is internal” is an incoherent statement, one that contains an implicit contradiction. “Everything is in my mind” likewise renders “my mind” meaningless. It is only the contrast between existence and consciousness that makes the concept “consciousness” possible.

        The logical fallacy of attempting to retain and use a concept while denying one or more of its presuppositions is worth pausing to consider, because the fallacy is rampant in the history of philosophy. First identified by Ayn Rand, and called by her “the fallacy of the ‘stolen concept,” it consists of a certain kind of violation of the hierarchy of concepts.

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        @H. Binswanger

        Are you really H. Binswanger? If so, why did you not cite your own work, properly? That’s still plagiarism, you know. Anyways, thanks for the comment. One of the few good comments in this thread. I’ll ruminate on the matter.

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        @H. Binswanger

        How would you deal with quantum mechanics in light of your epistemology?

  2. April 17, 2010 3:38

    Looks like the other guy believes in man-made global warming. His science sucks and he looks at the world like it’s made of scientific formulation. When it comes to Malthus and his green conservation, there are awful lot of things that the other guy missed such as the science of economics and politics yet he claims to be superior in logic, philosophy and science. Well it reminds me of this Economists Versus Scientists story…

    http://newmatilda.com/2008/02/01/scientists-vs-economists

  3. April 17, 2010 3:38

    Wait! I forgot to state this: when it comes to the science of economics, I mean Austrian Economics or Austrian Business Cycle Theory, which is a reality-based economic theory. Speaking of the science of politics, I mean laissez faire Capitalism, which means full, uncontrolled, and unregulated Capitalism. Capisce?

    • April 17, 2010 3:38

      Science is never dogmatic. However, your “economics” and “political science” are dogmas. Get your words right before vomiting them out.

      And by the way, anthropogenic climate change is a scientific fact. Go read the science journals yourself.

      • April 17, 2010 3:38

        So you believe in Al Gore? Yeah right! That reveals your utter idiocy then. Get your ass off the world of Kant! Your stupid belief in global warming shows that you’re nothing but a PARROT! Darn I hate human stupidity!

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        @Freethinkers Suck Big Time!

        Have you read Kant? Hume? Popper? Quine? Any one of the analytical philosophers?

        I guess it is clear who’s the parrot here. (Clue: this person is Rand’s parrot.)

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        @Freethinkers Suck Big Time!

        Did you really read the article “What Global Warming?” from the Wall Street Journal? Because if you did, you’ll find that it contradicts you. Big time.

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        @Freethinkers Suck Big Time!

        “Darn I hate human stupidity!”

        You must hate yourself, then. Too bad for you.

  4. April 17, 2010 3:38

    I do not have enough time on weekends, so let me make this short reply for the mean time while I craft a rebuttal to your desperate “arguments”.
    1.) You have completely misunderstood the Cartesian Cogito on many levels. To provide just one, you are confusing causality and immediacy. It is true that existence precedes thought (that’s not original to Rand, by the way, that’s copied from existentialism); however, thought is obviously more immediate that existence, since we must first think before we can infer our existence. If you want to stop thinking to show that YOU can still exist without thinking, then be my guest. And by the way, Rand’s attack on the Cogito is laughable. I’ll show you why on my reply.
    2.) If you read my comment carefully, you will see that I never did undermine induction. In fact, I said that induction is essential in the formulation of scientific theories. But (from elementary logic) induction does not lead to certain conclusions. Therefore, certainty can never be had in science.
    3.) I am not anti-Aristotle. Again, I am an Aristotle fan; my ethical system is even patterned to Aristotle’s virtue ethics.
    4.) I never attacked the Law of Identity — you’re the one using straw men.
    5.) You are confusing the behavior of nature with the theories humans formulate to explain and predict that behavior. Perhaps you’re the one who should consider calling yourself a “defender of truth” — defender of blindness and irrationality, more like it.
    6.) Regarding the Malthusian trap: my golly, you just can’t get it, can you? You did not even rebut my argument that a humanity was under a Malthusian trap before the Industrial Revolution; you offered no argument or showed no evidence to present your irrational and laughable thesis that “Malthus was a mystic irrationalist”. (If you count your reply as “arguments”, then I pity your ignorance.)
    7.) No, I never claimed perfect originality in my arguments. In fact, I said it explicitly that the arguments I offered were the arguments considered valid by almost all true philosopher (Peikoff is excluded, of course, since he’s no philosopher).
    8.)

    There are so many flaws in your post that I do not know where to begin. I guess when I make a reply, we will begin with the fundamentals, because before we can settle the fundamentals, we cannot go to the things that matter, like the RH bill. And, after all, the debate regarding the RH bill hangs on the overpopulation issue.

    And while you wait for my reply, kindly read the “I do not have enough time on weekends, so let me make this short reply for the mean time while I craft a rebuttal to your desperate “arguments”.
    1.) You have completely misunderstood the Cartesian Cogito on many levels. To provide just one, you are confusing causality and immediacy. It is true that existence precedes thought (that’s not original to Rand, by the way, that’s copied from existentialism); however, thought is obviously more immediate that existence, since we must first think before we can infer our existence. If you want to stop thinking to show that YOU can still exist without thinking, then be my guest. And by the way, Rand’s attack on the Cogito is laughable. I’ll show you why on my reply.
    2.) If you read my comment carefully, you will see that I never did undermine induction. In fact, I said that induction is essential in the formulation of scientific theories. But (from elementary logic) induction does not lead to certain conclusions. Therefore, certainty can never be had in science.
    3.) I am not anti-Aristotle. Again, I am an Aristotle fan; my ethical system is even patterned to Aristotle’s virtue ethics.
    4.) I never attacked the Law of Identity — you’re the one using straw men.
    5.) You are confusing the behavior of nature with the theories humans formulate to explain and predict that behavior. Perhaps you’re the one who should consider calling yourself a “defender of truth” — defender of blindness and irrationality, more like it.
    6.) Regarding the Malthusian trap: my golly, you just can’t get it, can you? You did not even rebut my argument that a humanity was under a Malthusian trap before the Industrial Revolution; you offered no argument or showed no evidence to present your irrational and laughable thesis that “Malthus was a mystic irrationalist”. (If you count your reply as “arguments”, then I pity your ignorance.)
    7.) No, I never claimed perfect originality in my arguments. In fact, I said it explicitly that the arguments I offered were the arguments considered valid by almost all true philosopher (Peikoff is excluded, of course, since he’s no philosopher).
    8.)

    There are so many flaws in your post that I do not know where to begin. I guess when I make a reply, we will begin with the fundamentals, because before we can settle the fundamentals, we cannot go to the things that matter, like the RH bill. And, after all, the debate regarding the RH bill hangs on the overpopulation issue.

    And while you wait for my reply, kindly read the “I do not have enough time on weekends, so let me make this short reply for the mean time while I craft a rebuttal to your desperate “arguments”.
    1.) You have completely misunderstood the Cartesian Cogito on many levels. To provide just one, you are confusing causality and immediacy. It is true that existence precedes thought (that’s not original to Rand, by the way, that’s copied from existentialism); however, thought is obviously more immediate that existence, since we must first think before we can infer our existence. If you want to stop thinking to show that YOU can still exist without thinking, then be my guest. And by the way, Rand’s attack on the Cogito is laughable. I’ll show you why on my reply.
    2.) If you read my comment carefully, you will see that I never did undermine induction. In fact, I said that induction is essential in the formulation of scientific theories. But (from elementary logic) induction does not lead to certain conclusions. Therefore, certainty can never be had in science.
    3.) I am not anti-Aristotle. Again, I am an Aristotle fan; my ethical system is even patterned to Aristotle’s virtue ethics.
    4.) I never attacked the Law of Identity — you’re the one using straw men.
    5.) You are confusing the behavior of nature with the theories humans formulate to explain and predict that behavior. Perhaps you’re the one who should consider calling yourself a “defender of truth” — defender of blindness and irrationality, more like it.
    6.) Regarding the Malthusian trap: my golly, you just can’t get it, can you? You did not even rebut my argument that a humanity was under a Malthusian trap before the Industrial Revolution; you offered no argument or showed no evidence to present your irrational and laughable thesis that “Malthus was a mystic irrationalist”. (If you count your reply as “arguments”, then I pity your ignorance.)
    7.) No, I never claimed perfect originality in my arguments. In fact, I said it over and over again that the arguments I offered were the arguments considered valid by almost all true philosophers (Peikoff is excluded, of course; he’s no philosopher in the truest sense of the word).

    There are so many flaws in your post that I do not know where to begin. I guess when I make a reply, we will begin with the fundamentals, because before we can settle the fundamentals, we cannot go to the things that matter, like the RH bill. And, after all, the debate regarding the RH bill hangs on the overpopulation issue.

    And while you wait for my reply, I challenge you to actually read the so-called “obsolete, mystical, irrational philosophies” of the philosophers. And kindly read Kant, Hume and Popper first hand — stop relying to your very un-philosophical and illogical second hand sources (or I guess I should say source, since there is only one).

  5. April 17, 2010 3:38

    Q&A: Here are my partial answers to your questions.

    1. If your science tells you that we must “conserve”, how will it be done? a.) Through the use of government force (population control programs); b) Suppress economic and industrial activities; c) Stop scientific development since they use natural resources; d) all of the above?

    A: We must conserve by adopting and spreading an ethical system that gives importance to human survival. When everyone thinks about the survival of the species, no government force or “return to the primitive” is needed, everyone will act freely for the benefit of humanity’s harmonious existence with his environment.

    2. If you’re a defender of reason, you should know the impact of “population control” programs on freedom and individual rights. How will it affect you as an individual?

    A: I am not for “population control” a-la-China. I am for laws that provide rights to couples to plan their families.

    3. What is the role of economics and technology in the improvement of man’s life?

    A: Economics and technology improve man’s state of existence and the quality of his life.

    4. What is the ethical system that a man must embrace in order to live as a logical, rational, and productive human being? This issue is important because the ethical system that most Free-Farters embrace is the morality of, for, and by the lemmings: Altruism.

    A: My ethical system is still a work in progress — after all, I don’t have it handed down to me from a God or a Goddess. But I have the following philosophers as my main guides: Aristotle (his virtue ethics, his idea of “man’s final end”, his concept of “the great-souled man”), Nietzsche (his idea of “the will to power”, his concept of “the genius” and his own virtue ethics), Rand (her individualism), Russell (his Aristotelian defense of happiness) and Kaufmann (again, his virtue ethics concentrating on ambition, the honest and fearless search for the truth, the tragic virtues and love for humanity and for self). I also have the following scientists as guides: Feynman (his Dionysian spirit), Goodall (her conservationism), E.O. Wilson (again, his conservationism), Gould (his fearlessness in holding unpopular positions), Sagan (his extra-terrestrial perspective) and Dawkins (same with Gould).

    5. What is the best and most moral political system that a man must support and establish in order to guarantee economic and scientific development, protect his rights and freedom, and ensure his survival from natural or man-made calamities?

    A: I think the best political set-up is a city-state of informed and intelligent men and women participating in a democratic but also meritocratic system of decision making.

    By the way, I’m sorry for the terrible redundancy of my last comment. Something went wrong with my internet connection, so I kept clicking “Submit Comment” and, well, there you have it.

    • April 17, 2010 3:38

      HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA! OH MY GOLLY! I don’t know what to say. This is the very PROOF that your philosophy is that of a caveman! Really!!! I think it’s right- darn right- to say that there’s no use arguing with someone like you who simply sopped up the wrong teachings of various caveman philosophers. But you made my day! lol!

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        Excuse me, but have you read a single book written by any of these “caveman philosophers”?

        You also said, “This is the very PROOF that your philosophy is that of a caveman!” You don’t even know how to use the word “proof” in a philosophical way. I guess it’s clear who’s ignorant between the two of us.

  6. April 17, 2010 3:38

    By the way, Froi, your comments on epistemology are soooo desperate. Not to mention uninformed. I’ll get to their desperation and ignorance in my main reply to your blog post. I’ll keep you posted.

    • April 17, 2010 3:38

      I no longer have the interest to prolong this discussion- and your utter stupidity- because you clearly don’t understand what you’re talking about. If you want to know more about epistemology and metaphysics, go read Ayn Rand. And to think that you don’t even understand the relation, connection, between the basic branches of philosophy. What you only know are the drivels- all kinds of philosophical distortions- concocted by third-rate, irrational philosophers. What I wrote above is my final answer and you are free to debunk them if you want.

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        You said, “What you only know are the drivels- all kinds of philosophical distortions- concocted by third-rate, irrational philosophers.” Which philosophers? The one’s you haven’t read yet? Oh, come on, don’t tell me you’ve read all of Kant, Hume, Popper, Russell, Wittgenstein, Kripke, Whitehead, Frege and the rest of the analytic philosophers, the philosophers you call “mystics”. How can you call them “mystics” or “third-rate” if you haven’t even read them?

        I guess it’s apparent who’s the parrot between the two of us; it’s crystal clear from your post above — you are Rand’s parrot, since you treat Rand’s word as the final say on anything. For example, you adopt Rand’s opinion of Kant and Hume even if you have not correctly understood or ever read these philosophers. You even have the gall to call philosophers you’ve never read “third-rate”.

      • April 18, 2010 3:38

        Ok, thanks for debating me. And please, mind your manners when debating. When you’re calling a person “stupid” out of the blue, then you’re the one who looks stupid. Really.

        I just got myself a real job, so I won’t have time to debate you anymore or to post a detailed reply/rebuttal to your blog post above. But if I get a chance to make a detained attack on your post, I’ll tell you. There are so many points to attack, after all.

        Finally, I accept your challenge. I’ll save money to buy and read Rand’s non-fiction books, especially her ‘Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology’, which I still don’t have (‘Anthem’, ‘The Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged’ are what I have).

        On the other hand, kindly accept my challenge. Please read at least some of the philosophers you accused to be “third-rate” and “mystic”. It’s not good to badmouth philosophers you have not read. If you want, you can even post entries trying to debunk other philosophers (but of course you can do so only after you have read them). It’s not good to take Rand’s word on the matter regrading other philosophers as final, especially if you don’t have first-hand knowledge of these philosophers.

        Again, I’ll call your attention in case I’ll posts an entry related to epistemology, Objectivism, metaphysics and physics, the RH bill, demography and population science, climate change, economics and political theory.

  7. April 18, 2010 3:38

    @Froi

    There are too many unreferenced copy-pasted materials on this thread. What are you going to do about them?

    • April 18, 2010 3:38

      OK it’s good to know you’re saving your money to buy Rand’s non-fiction books. In regard to the unreferenced materials on this thread, I don’t have any control over the behavior of my commenters. I have a lot of anonymous commenters everyday. And besides, I’m not an organization.

    • April 19, 2010 3:38

      But yes, I appreciate your time, efforts and zeal. Don’t worry, I ‘m going to deal with the issues you raised in the future. They really challenged me big time because this is my first time to deal with this kind of issues.

      • April 19, 2010 3:38

        That’s the spirit. See my the philosophers and scientists I admire? When your list becomes that long too, perhaps you’ll appreciate Rands ideas better. (Although I don’t suggest reading Kant; he’s an obnoxious writer. Try starting with the ones who write with clarity and who have excellent prose styles: Russell, Quine and Popper. But update yourself — analytic philosophy is a fast-paced world, kind of like science. What you know today will be outdated tomorrow, so you’ll have a difficult time catching up on the latest on all issues.)

        In the process of this debate, I also discovered this wonderful blog called “The Maverick Philosopher”. I discovered it because I saw Mr. H. Binswanger (a professional philosopher associated with the Rand Institute) commenting on a post on this blog. The blogger has many good discussions on Rand, although he’s not favorable to your idol and he attacks her with gusto. Just sharing.

  8. Miguel Garcia permalink
    April 19, 2010 3:38

    @ everyone except Froi,

    I don’t think you are a match for this Pecier at the moment, you might want to consider reading and studying more like what Vince is going to do. =)

  9. Freethinkers Suck Big Time! permalink
    April 20, 2010 3:38

    Miguel Garcia… another dumb freefarter!

  10. Miguel Garcia permalink
    April 20, 2010 3:38

    froivinber permalink
    But yes, I appreciate your time, efforts and zeal. Don’t worry, I ‘m going to deal with the issues you raised in the future. They really challenged me big time because this is my first time to deal with this kind of issues.

    if you are a froilan follower, i think you better read above :)im not from the Freethinkers group btw. So you’re the know it all dumb one🙂 you’re nothing🙂

  11. April 20, 2010 3:38

    Baliw ka pala, Miguel Garcia, aka freefarter! Eh sino bang tangang makipag-argue sa taong kagaya ni Pecier na hindi naiintindihan ang pinagsasabi. Hindi mo ba nakitang an daming issues na pinagsasabi niya. “Don’t worry, I ‘m going to deal with the issues you raised in the future.” This means that Pecier brought up a lot of issues! Intiende? This means that Vincenton is honest enough to say that, since madami kang issues na pinagsasabi, I will deal with them in the future. Kasi imposibleng makipag-argue sa taong ang daming sinasaling issues na hindi dapat isali. Naintindihan mo?

    “im not from the Freethinkers group btw.” C’mon… tell that to the marines!

    • Miguel Garcia permalink
      April 20, 2010 3:38

      kulang sa aral🙂

    • Miguel Garcia permalink
      April 21, 2010 3:38

      how intelligent! can even tell what is in Vince’s mind! can even tell that im from the freethinkers group (even if im not).🙂 cool!

      as Vince said, he was challenged to look into the issues which he’s not yet aware of. there’s nothing wrong with that. now, do you have rebuttals or arguements for Pecier’s piece? I don’t think so. It’s one thing (and very easy I must say) to say “Stupid! tanga mo naman! you’re wrong!” and another, very different thing to prove it. It’s ok, you’re nothing.🙂

      • Markie Mark permalink
        April 21, 2010 3:38

        After reading the part 1 and part two articles, including the comments on this blog, there are indeed a number of issues that pecier raised, which I suspect, he didn’t even understand. I read his comment above wherein he identified his metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics and it’s very clear he didn’t know what he’s talking about.

        Well, how can you argue with someone who didn’t understand the role of philosophy and logic in one’s life? The only rational action is to stop arguing with an ignoramus, period!

      • April 21, 2010 3:38

        When I said that some issues raised challenged me big time because it was the first time I dealt with them, I realized that it was time to deal with philosophical issues. I know that most of my blog readers observed that I devoted much time and efforts discussing political issues. Yes, I am greatly interested in politics and this is the reason why 95% of my blogs are focused on capitalism, individualism, economics, poverty, reproductive health bill, universal health care, etc.

        So it’s really time for me to deal with philosophical issues. In this discussion, Pecier raised a number of issues, which I have not fully discussed given the nature of this debate. It would take a full-blown article in order to tackle just a single issue. So these are the issues, or matters, which I am going to discuss in the future:

        1. The logical and philosophical invalidity of Kant’s analytic-synthetic dichotomy.

        2. The invalidity of Rene Descartes’ Cogito ergo sum (I am therefore I think.)

        3. The invalidity of Rationalism and Empiricism.

        4. The evil of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy.

        5. The evil of Malthusian population principles and the Malthusian disregard of the rational principles of economics.

        6. The concept of induction and deduction.

        If some of my readers really read the whole discussion, they would understand what are the issues I’m talking about. However, some people just deposited their brains in their closet.

      • Markie Mark permalink
        April 21, 2010 3:38

        Nice one, Froivinver. Well, it’s part of reality that there are some people who’re motivated by hatred, particularly hatred of the good for being the good. It’s nice to know that there are advocates of Ayn Rand’s philosophy in the Philippines. I visited Philippines four years ago and I noticed that cronyism, corruption and bribery were rife in your political system. This is one of the main reasons why many foreign investors refuse to do business in RP.

        In regard to analytic-synthetic dichotomy, I read Dr. Peikoff’s article in ITOE more than a year ago and I was really blown away by how he demolished Kant’s invalid method of reasoning. I became interested in Kant’s philosophy when I was taking my MBA. My business ethics professor was a Kantian. That time I was sold to Kant’s philosophy and I regarded his analytic-synthetic dichotomy as valid. It really pissed me off to know that Kant was a buffoon!

        I read several Ayn Rand books, including Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, ITOE, Anthem, TVS, and the Art of Fiction, which is my most favorite non-fiction book.

        Yes, you’re right, like science, business is primarily inductive. But unfortunately, there are a lot of people who think they’re really good at philosophy and logic, yet they go against reason and logic. They support government intervention over economic freedom. They advocate for welfare statism and reject capitalism. I have no respect for these people!

      • April 29, 2010 3:38

        @Markie Mark and Froi

        I am in complete agreement with Rand that the synthetic-analytic dichotomy is invalid. But I believe the best demolition of dichotomy is due to the American philosopher W.V. Quine. Rand’s attack is in some ways similar to Quine’s, but it is also in some ways inferior. For one, Quine’s attack is more rigorous, technical and formal. Quine is a superlative logician, after all.

        Now, regarding the Cartesian Cogito. I am currently writing a blog entry regarding the primacy of existence and the Cogito. Since I am sympathetic to the existentialist school, I agree with Rand that existence is prior to consciousness. However, her charge that the Cogito is invalid springs, I believe, from a misunderstanding of the Cogito. To provide a sneak peak of the said article, I am going to argue that “I think therefore I am” does not mean that consciousness is prior to existence, which is nonsense. Rather, “I think therefore I am” is equivalent to “If I don’t exist, then I can’t think”, which is obviously true. And “If I don’t exist, then I can’t think” (a statement I will call “the Reverse Cogito”) does not contradict the primacy of existence. Existence is prior to consciousness, that much is true. But the primacy of existence does not contradict or refute the Cartesian Cogito in any way. In fact, they are amenable to each other!

      • April 29, 2010 3:38

        @ Pecier. You said: “I am currently writing a blog entry regarding the primacy of existence and the Cogito. Since I am sympathetic to the existentialist school, I agree with Rand that existence is prior to consciousness. However, her charge that the Cogito is invalid springs, I believe, from a misunderstanding of the Cogito. To provide a sneak peak of the said article, I am going to argue that “I think therefore I am” does not mean that consciousness is prior to existence, which is nonsense.”

        I don’t think you can rewrite the history of Cartesian’s primacy of consciousness when it’s already known to mini-Cartesian philosophers of today. Consider this article- The Mind’s Indisputable Primacy. http://www.orgmind.com/mind_primacy.php

  12. yobitch! permalink
    April 22, 2010 3:38

    Is it just me or Markie Mark sounded strangely like froivinber? Hmmm..how odd.

    • Miguel Garcia permalink
      April 22, 2010 3:38

      yep, it’slike the commenters can read Vince’s mind right? cool!!!🙂

      • April 23, 2010 3:38

        Hay naku pati ba naman dito! All I can say is: BACK OFF mga jealous, envious, mga inggitero at inngitera!

      • April 23, 2010 3:38

        See? Sina Miguel Garcia at Yobitch palaging makasama… They agree with each other which shows that they are just one and the same idiot lol! Wrinkles… wrinkles… uminit ulo ko lol!

  13. April 29, 2010 3:38

    @Froi

    You said, “I don’t think you can rewrite the history of Cartesian’s primacy of consciousness when it’s already known to mini-Cartesian philosophers of today.”

    I agree that the standard interpretation of the Cogito is false, which is very unfortunate. And one can easily see the damaging effects of the standard interpretation of the Cogito by looking at Descartes’ philosophical dualism; the Cartesian theory of mind is indeed mystical and obviously false in the light of modern psychology and neuroscience.

    However, I believe the Cogito has a better interpretation, an interpretation which will not lead to Descartes’ false, mystical and dualistic conclusions. This superior interpretation follows from a linguistic analysis of the Cogito. “I think therefore I am” is is not equivalent to “Thought is prior to being”. Rather, it is equivalent to “If I can think, then I exist”, which is in turn equivalent to “If I don’t exist, then I cannot think”. In other words, “I think therefore I am” should be taken to mean “The ability to think implies existence”, which is equivalent to “Non-existence implies the lack of ability to think”.

    Taken in the above sense, the Cartesian Cogito is NOT contradicted by the primacy of existence. Taken in the above sense, the Cogito does NOT imply the primacy consciousness. Rather, the Cogito merely implies the immediacy of consciousness — consciousness is more immediate to itself, but it is not prior to existence. I believe this interpretation was Descartes’ original meaning. To Descartes, consciousness is as certain as existence. In fact, to him, existence is implied by consciousness precisely because existence is what makes consciousness possible. In short, the primacy of existence is what gives the Cogito its validity.

    Descartes, however, wishing to “prove” the existence of a God, was lead astray. His desire to reach a false conclusion lead him to bend the meaning of his own Cogito. But Descartes’ personal shortcomings should not be used against his Cogito. The Cogito is valid, even though Descartes used and interpreted it wrongly.

  14. April 29, 2010 3:38

    “Descartes, however, wishing to “prove” the existence of a God, was lead astray.”

    That’s why your attempt to justify Cogito is a lost cause. I can only answer you by quoting Ayn Rand. I think this one is the reason why she disapproved of Rene Descartes.

    She said: “They want to cheat the axiom of existence and consciousness, they want their consciousness to be an instrument not of perceiving but of creating existence, and existence to be not the object but the subject of their consciousness—they want to be that God they created in their image and likeness, who creates a universe out of a void by means of an arbitrary whim. But reality is not to be cheated. What they achieve is the opposite of their desire. They want an omnipotent power over existence; instead, they lose the power of their consciousness. By refusing to know, they condemn themselves to the horror of a perpetual unknown.”

  15. GabbyD permalink
    April 23, 2011 3:38

    what is scientific truth? what is a “fact of reality”? how about an example.

    i think you dont mean scientific theories, coz those change.

    • April 23, 2011 3:38

      All truth is scientific. Well, this is not just my idea. Even Richard Dawkins said it. Everything that exists and can be perceived can be subject of scientific inquiry, thus it is provable. The law of gravity is a scientific truth. The 2+2-4. Scientific truth is objective. It corresponds to reality. True, there are things that we don’t know yet, but that doesn’t mean they are relative or nothing can be absolute. Soon we will get to know them. More than 500 years ago people thought that the world was flat. But through science man learned that it is not. A fact of reality is your existence. That you breathe. That you eat. That’s a fact of reality. This is very basic!

      • GabbyD permalink
        April 23, 2011 3:38

        ok. why append the word “scientific”. what does that word add to the meaning of “truth”?

        hhmmm.. gravity is a ST (scientific truth). at some point in the past, no one knew about the idea of gravity, i.e. the same way newton knew it.

        back then everyone thought the world is flat. since then, we know that it isnt. so, “the world is flat” — is that a ST?

      • April 23, 2011 3:38

        Because all “truths” are scientific. Science means “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”. If a thing is untrue, that’s unscientific. You can never apply your leftist BS in this context.

        That’s why there’s absolute truth. Read the blog again. Why not go back here… https://fvdb.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/in-defense-of-absolute-rights-and-free-speech/

        I know this is your real target… But you can’t refute it. It’s not possible. You don’t have enough intellectual ammunition to refute it. Tell your comrades to do more college research works. Don’t copy-paste…

      • GabbyD permalink
        April 23, 2011 3:38

        oo nga. i’m trying to understand the concept of scientific truth. the best way is to use specific examples.

        its not clear to me what the difference is between ST and Truth.

        why not just call it truth? if you want to say, all truths are scientific, its even more mindboggling — if all truths are scientific, why not just call them truths and not waste time typing the word scientific? (i.e. if all horses are 4-legged, why say “4-legged horse”?)

        next, you write: “Science means “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”. If a thing is untrue, that’s unscientific.”

        the second sentence doesnt follow from the first. when you confirm an idea (lets call it theory) by observation and experiment, that adds to the credibility of the theory, makes it more likely to be true.

        note: “likely” to be true.

        i dont think a scientist will ever say a theory is the “Truth”, with a capital T.

        so again, all those things you mentioned: “gravity”, maltusian traps, etc…

        all of these can be overturned via experiment. history is littered with “wrong” theories. surely, you agree with that!

        ex: the big bang. can you say that this happened? this is the best theory of what happened, that doesnt mean it DID happen.

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