Friday, January 24, 2014

The Primacy of Existence

Previous: The Law of Causality (Cause and Effect)

Objectivism is named for one of its key concepts that it emphasizes and upholds—the concept of “objectivity.”  Ayn Rand said this about objectivity in part: “It pertains to the relationship of consciousness to existence. Metaphysically [by the nature of reality—my comment], it is the recognition of the fact that reality exists independent of any perceiver’s consciousness.”[1] In general philosophy, this “recognition” is a position called “metaphysical objectivity”; in Objectivism, it is known as the “Primacy of Existence.” 

Like the law of causality, it is a law inherent in existence, and it describes the precise role of consciousness in relation to existence.  It is the most important principle in Metaphysics, and is a further corollary of the axioms and the law of causality.  I will describe how one could reach the primacy of existence from experience.  Then I will explain the opposition to this view, the primacy of consciousness.  Afterwards, I’ll explain a process for reaching generalized knowledge like the axioms without using strict induction, using the process of Aristotle’s that has been named “intuitive induction.”  Lastly, I’ll answer an objection about the mind’s control over the body in light of the primacy of existence.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Law of Causality (Cause-and-Effect)

Previous: On Axiomatic Concepts and Axioms

Causality is something inherent in reality; it is an inescapable law of existence. In Objectivism, it is the first principle of Metaphysics after the identification of the basic axioms. I will give an inductive investigation of sorts into how this law can be formed. Afterwards, I will show why it can’t be an induction strictly speaking, and is rather a self-evident corollary of the Law of Identity.

Inducing Cause-and-Effect

Causality, or cause-and-effect, is the view that the world is lawful, orderly, or uniform in its operations. To understand what this means, we’ll have to revisit a number of concepts I discussed previously in my essay on axiomatic concepts and axioms.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

On Axiomatic Concepts and Axioms

Reaching the Axioms

All topics and all fields of research have a beginning or starting point. Philosophy may be the most abstract field that we study, but it is no different. Whether they admit to them or deny them, all philosophies rest on a set of axioms, or starting points. Axioms are self-evident propositions that indicate the bases of all knowledge and are at the base of all statements and claims. Philosophical axioms must be accepted in order to make any statement or claim to knowledge of any subject, because philosophy is the backdrop for all other areas of study. Aristotle was perhaps the first individual to discuss the importance of axioms, and Objectivism is the most recent philosophy to emphasize their role in knowledge.