« The Art of the Aphorism in an Aphorism | Main | Saturday Night at the Oldies: Is That All There Is? »

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

"One does not define a criterion of identity by emphatic stressing of the word 'this'. Rather, what the emphasis does is to suggest the case in which we are conversant with such a criterion of identity, but have to be reminded of it"

Is the quotation from Wittgenstein? Sounds like something the old boy would say.

Reformulated for the case at hand: One cannot define 'existence' by pointing or gesturing. Rather, what the pointing or gesturing does, and does ineptly, is illustrate the definition of 'existence' one had all along.

What you are doing here is dropping the context of Rand's remark -- specifically the context of the meaning of "definition".

The definition of a concept does not provide an exhaustive list of all the characteristics of the concept being defined.

Rather, "a definition designates the essential distinguishing characteristic(s) (the differentia) and genus of the existents subsumed under a given concept".

And:

"The purpose of a definition is to distinguish a concept from all other concepts and thus to keep its units differentiated from all other existents."

Thus, for instance, the concept man is defined as a "rational animal", with "rational" (i.e.” possessing the capacity to reason") serving as the differentia and"animal" as the genus.

But the concept of "existence" -- as Rand makes clear in ITOE -- is a special case; it cannot be defined by means of genus and differentia because it includes everything that exists. So what you can do in place of a conventional definition is to point to existence. The "sweep" in "sweep one's arm around and say: 'I mean this.'" makes clear that you are referring to everything that exists.

It is false to assert that to know the concept “existence” one must know everything that exists. That’s the equivalent of claiming that I cannot know the concept “man” unless I know everything about every man on the planet.

For more on definitions, go here: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/definitions.html

The preceding comment is another excellent illustration of the primitive level of the members of the Rand cult. Note that no attempt was made to engage anything that I actually said in my carefully crafted post. Instead, in the manner of the true believer and full-dress dogmatist, the Rand apologist repeats the Party Line, citing the Canonical Writings.

Why, after all, respond to arguments when one has The Truth? He who possesses The Truth knows in advance of all inquiry that no argument can prevail against such a Solid Rock.

>>It is false to assert that to know the concept “existence” one must know everything that exists. That’s the equivalent of claiming that I cannot know the concept “man” unless I know everything about every man on the planet.<<

This sort of intellectual obtuseness, this failure to take in the plain sense of what the critic is saying, is characteristic of the Rand cultists who have shown up here. (There have been a few exceptions.) Once again we see that 'Objectivism' is amateur stuff for amateurs.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 10/2008

Categories

Categories

March 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      
Blog powered by Typepad