Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Objectivism vs. Materialism and Idealism

  1. Feb 26, 2007 #1
    From: http://radicalacademy.com/objcriticism.htm

    The claim that Objectivism is neither Materialism nor Idealism (Objectivists reject both) can not be taken seriously (whatever they claim).
    If consciousness is to be taken something entirely different as matter (which Objectivism urges us to!), this would be entirely anti-scientific. How can consciousness have any real effect in the world, without it being something material in fundament?
    How could there even be consciousness, without a material origin?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2007 #2
    Seems to be signs of a weak theory.
  4. Feb 26, 2007 #3
    Since your doubt is based on a presupposition of how consciousness works, it's baseless beyond your unfalsifiable claim. The simple refutation of your reasonable doubt is that we don't know what consciousness is or how it works.
  5. Feb 27, 2007 #4
    You don't need a presupposition about consciousness to raise the question. You just need a more general question about interaction between things.

    Material things are capable of interacting with other material things. If immaterial things are incorporeal, then how do they interact with material things? Through what process would it occur?

    If you can't come up with a plausible explanation, then should we assume immaterial things exist, or should we take a different route and see how far the materialist view can take us?
  6. Feb 27, 2007 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Why? I don't see how such a hypothesis directly opposes the pursuit of science.

    If you meant that it's not a scientific hypothesis, then I would agree with you. But so what? Materialism is not a scientific hypothesis either.

    You appear to be first assuming materialism, and then using that assumption to evaluate other philosophies. Is that a correct assessment? FYI, that makes for a rather weak argument. (Except to those that already believe in materialism, or if we're doing a hypothetical argument to see what the materialistic position implies)
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  7. Feb 27, 2007 #6
    can someone please define "matter" for the purposes of this thread? I feel once it's done, we can immediately judge if objectivism is materialism or not.
  8. Feb 27, 2007 #7
    That is correct, but does that mean that consciousness could have aspects that are not entirely material?

    Even if we don't entirely know how consciouss works, is there any indication it is not material?
  9. Feb 27, 2007 #8
    Materialism defines matter as that what is external and independent of consciousness.
  10. Feb 27, 2007 #9
    Materialism is a philosophical position. One that almost always is the fundament for scientific theories, esp. in exact sciences.

    I'm just arguing about what the base position of Objectivism is, in regard to Materialism and Idealism.

    Objectivism claims not to be in either camp.

    Objectivisim is based on the primacy of existence ("existence exists" which is however just a tautology, and does not seem to limit itself to the material only, but excludes the supernatural).

    Otherwise it seems to claim that there is nothing that escapes the material.

    So, how is that any different as materialism?
  11. Feb 27, 2007 #10
    Oh I hate these definitions. There is no use to define X in terms of Y, if Y is not less controversial than X. What now? Define consciousness?
  12. Feb 27, 2007 #11


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I don't see that definition in this collection from the net.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  13. Feb 27, 2007 #12


  14. Feb 27, 2007 #13
    I know what you mean, but then how to define things in an absolute way? It is totally impossible! Everything is connected to each other, and everything is defined in terms of each other.

    Recall that in physics this kind of thing also occurs, since spacetime and mass/energy for example are also interconnected.
    For classical mechanics we had a seperate notions of space and time and matter on the other hand. In relativistic physics, these notions are interconnected, you can not have spacetime without matter nor vice versa. They are dependend on each other and defined in terms of each other.

    In terms of General Relavity we need to say that the motion of mass (celestial bodies) is caused by the gravity field, while at the same time the gravity field itself is caused by mass.
    Now you may find that circular, but this is how in General Relativity things are.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  15. Feb 27, 2007 #14
    Some other thing about 'Objectivism'

    One of it's doctrines are their so-called 'axioms' which are:
    - "Existence exists" (which is rather a tautology)
    - Law of Identity ("A=A")
    - Consciousness

    Acc. to 'Objectivism' it makes no special assumptions on what exists (wether matter, consciousness or something else) although it rejects any form of super-natural.

    Objectivism has clearly not read into much prior philosophy, and it simply neglects the dialectics. As a 21-st century philosophy it is clearly not the most advanced form of thought, but is rather one-sided.

    It's logic is purely abstract, and it therefore has much of a problem in reconciling itself with scientific truth.
    For example, quantum mechanics has clearly revealed some truths about underlying nature, which Objectivism can not reconcile with, since it is bound to formal logic only.

    And even special relativity poses problems, that do not fit with Objectivism.
    Consider for example that wether or not event A happens before B are depends on the inertial rest frame of the observer, so in what way to tell wether or not event A happens before event B is an objective truth?

    It's practical world view is that of a system (capitalism, incorporating only the individual right to property, and reducing the state to only protecting these individual rights) that has never existed in such a pure form, and can never exist in that manner.

    For some more lengthy critics on Objectivism, see:
    http://www.walden3.org/Capitalism%20Religion.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  16. Feb 27, 2007 #15

    This is what one of your sources (http://www.summit.org/resource/dictionary/ [Broken]) define in their dictionary:

    What Marxisms calls for is not the elimination of the bourgois class (how do you think that would have to take place: kill them all?) but for the abolition of private property (of the means of production)

    That is clearly something different.

    The end result would be that the class distinction is overcome, although it would not immediately end the class struggle.

    And here another one:

    It does not mention one important aspect of capitalism, namely the private ownership of the means of production
    Without that, it is not capitalism. It is the defining concept for capitalism.

    And here another one:

    I am realy puzzled. Communism a religious worldview?
    Outlined in ten categories (including theology)??
    Understanding the Times??

    Here is a link to dictionary that has something else to say about communism:


    Important notice: communism is not to be thought of as a state of affairs, as an ideal to which reality has to adjust itself, but as the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  17. Feb 27, 2007 #16


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm going by wikipedia's description, since I can't find any other... this claim is wrong. At the very least, objectivism asserts that consciousness cannot be reduced to material.
  18. Feb 27, 2007 #17


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm rather fond of the formalist solution: don't treat such definitions as if they were meaningful. Instead, write down a list of the statements you are going to presuppose are true, and stick to those. (in particular without resorting to introducing "obvious" or "self-evident" facts about the things you're discussing)
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  19. Feb 28, 2007 #18
    It's not about defining things "in absolute way", but rather about boiling dubious definitions down to something people agree about. from there, you can make a judgement (on "objectivism vs materialism" or whatever) that everybody will agree upon.
  20. Feb 28, 2007 #19


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Concsious awareness is a result of the material physiology of neurons. How much simpler can it get?

    This has nothing to do with political or social ideologies. The implication is only that no conscious awareness exists without the material origin of the neuron and its physiological mechanisms. This has been proven by countless research grants funded by capitalists, communists and democracies over several decades. Where is the (legitimate) research that shows otherwise?
  21. Feb 28, 2007 #20
    I doubt that that is what they claim. I have read that they are more or less undecided about it, and that it doesn't matter for their philosophical position to be true wether or not consciousness can be reduced to matter.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook