Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Evidence of the Senses

I just got my new (used) book in the mail yesterday, and began voraciously devouring it already! It's by David Kelley and it's called "The Evidence of the Senses". It is a powerful defense of realism and the primacy of existence. The book is slightly 'technical' in its philosophical exposition, but with my basic understanding of metaphysical and epistemological concepts, their meanings, and their traditional uses by different philosophers throughout time, I am able to grasp Kelley's arguments without much difficulty. Obviously, his philosophy is greatly influenced by Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology, yet he uses a somewhat traditional realist approach in its defense. From what I've read so far, Kelley is convincingly exposing the loopholes, insubstantiation, and circularities of Descarte's Representalism and Kant's Transcendentalism. Read a review of Kelley's book at this site. Interestingly, Rand had offered qualified and limited support to Lockean theories of Ideas, which in this book, Kelley categorically refutes. His argument is that Locke started out with the correct premises of the primacy of existence and the tabula rasa mind, but then ventured out into Empiricism and an implicit acceptance of Cartesian Representationalism. According to Kelley, Locke then has no business explicitly basing his epistemology on tabula rasa if his implicit inconsistencies lead him to accept Cartesian epistemology.

4 Comments:

Blogger Diana said...

Ergo, you wrote: "Rand had offered qualified and limited support to Lockean theories of Ideas" -- what are you referring to?

(It didn't ring any bells for me, and a search of "Locke" on the Objectivism CD-ROM reveals no commentary from AR on Locke's theory of ideas. I wouldn't expect to find such, given her epistemology though.)

1/13/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Ergo Sum said...

I read somewhere... I think it might have been Sciabarra's book, or was it elsewhere, that Rand appreciated Locke's insistance on the primacy of existence, the fact that Locke understood consciousness as tabula rasa (he was the one who used the phrase to describe consciousness as such)... and that Locke a proponent of individual rights and limited government.

I shall try to go through some of the recent books I read to find the exact quote.

1/13/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Rand did certainly appreciate (with some substantial qualifications) Locke's politics. Yet even if she also appreciated his primacy of consciousness and rejection of innate ideas, that's not at all the same as "offer[ing] qualified and limited support to Lockean theories of Ideas" -- i.e. to his theory of concepts. Do you see the difference?

1/13/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Ergo Sum said...

I see your point. And by "theory of ideas" I was not referring to the "theory of concepts". The latter which designates a much more specific issue in philosophy, of which Rand and Locke are certainly in opposite fields. Locke's concept theory is more Cartesian even though he explicitly rejected Cartesianism, as Kelley argues it.

Locke's theory of ideas that I was talk about, in general terms, referred to the source of ideas, the nature of ideas, and their relation to the objects of awareness. In that sense, Rand and Locke agreed. Both considered external reality as the source of ideas, both considered the faculty of awareness has having a specific nature, and both agreed that was some causal relation between the ideas in the mind and the object of the ideas in the mind.

1/13/2006 04:01:00 PM  

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