The bridge between Metaphysics and Ethics

The meaning of ‘value’ is that which is valued by an entity capable of valuing. ie., value is that for which an entity acts to achieve or preserve, in face of at least one other available alternative course to pursue. Where there are no alternatives possible, no choices are possible, hence no question of valuing anything arises.

The premise I identified here is, Value is the chosen. The choice is made by the entity: Either it is explicitly made by conscious choice or implicitly by evading cognitive effort.

Life is the fundamental alternative chosen by every entity possessing it, in the face of the other alternative, death. Existence of life is not unconditional, since life is a process of voluntary, self-sustaining activity to be pursued throughout the course of organism’s existence as a living being. Entity that fails to recognise and meet the requirements of its choice to live, will implicitly choose death, and becomes inanimate matter.

Since life is the fundamental choice of any living entity, which makes all other choices possible, it is its ultimate value. In this context, I present the meaning of ‘ultimate value’: Ultimate value is that which makes all other values possible, and acts as the standard for the organism to choose all other values which are required for its continued preservation. It is irrelevant in this context whether this primary choice of organism is conscious or unconscious. For any living entity, to be a living entity, the value of life is objectively ultimate. Ie., independent of its recognition and preferences.

All its choices:values, that further its life are good for it, and all the values that threaten its life are bad for it. This is the imperative bridge between “what is” and “what ought to be”. The bridge between Metaphysics and Ethics, which most philosophers couldn’t identify, or evade, thus proclaiming that Ethics cannot be defined objectively.

Man being a rational animal, Reason is his primary means of survival: his primary value. Reason is the Man’s faculty that identifies and integrates material provided by his senses, hence his guide to make choices. Man is free to act irrationally: ie., free to make choices that are not consistent with the nature of his existence, but not free to succeed in furthering his life. If such a man survives, it is only in the capacity of a parasite. And only by the grace of other men who choose to be rational: that make his life possible, and only until such men exist.

Man “ought to” place no values inconsistent with his reason, if furthering his life in his full capacity as a Man is his goal. In this context, I give a brief note on the nature emotions. All of Man’s emotions are dependent on his chosen values. His fundamental emotions: Happiness and Sadness are results of his estimates on whether he succeeded or failed in accomplishing his values. Discussing the range of human emotions is outside the scope of this article. What is relevant here is to identify the existence and nature of causal connection between man’s value-accomplishments and his emotions. Observe that emotions are effects, and they are to be treated as such. They are not a guide to his action. Emotions will indicate whether a man succeeded or failed in his endeavours, but it is the province of Man’s reason to identify the endeavours he ought to pursue in the first place. ie., what makes a man happy is not necessarily what is good for him. But if a man pursues rational values consistently, he is bound to experience happiness. Inconsistent emotions experienced by Man are a result of pursuing inconsistent values that compromise his life.

Now, to appreciate the contrast with Objectivist ethics, observe the completely antithetical ethical system devised by Immanuel Kant, who was allegedly projected as a philosopher of reason. Kant’s ethics proclaim “duty” as a value. Observe that Self-sacrifice is the virtue (as Kant will have you practice it) that makes it possible. He held that a thing cannot be of value if you have a personal interest in it: His purpose is to detach value from the one valuing it. The unstated ultimate value that Immanuel Kant conferred upon man here is Death.

To convince a man to pursue irrational values, Kant must invalidate his objectively primary value: Reason. He approached that task, not by outright proclaiming reason as invalid, but by giving sanction to the irrational. He asks you to give benefit of doubt that a thing doesn’t exist, (which includes your own existence) because you perceive it, and because you are “limited” by the nature of your perception. The unstated premise which he wants you to accept, without making it explicit is, “Contradictions can exist because you cannot perceive them.” Its metaphysical meaning is, a thing can be not itself: A can be non A.

To arrive at a contradiction is the indication of an epistemological error. ie., to confess that an A has been falsely identified as a non A. To proclaim, and worse, to accept that A can be non A is as good as invalidating everything you know, which incidentally also includes Kant’s philosophy. It is by far the most evil as evil can go.

To protect yourself from this evil, observe that a thing that cannot be perceived, and which doesn’t bear any relation whatsoever with that which exists and can be perceived: does not, and cannot exist. Do not frustrate yourself by trying to prove the non-existence of non-existence by means of existence. It cannot be done. The meaning of proof is to show that something exists and bears an intelligible relationship with that which exists. The purpose of proof is affirming the existence of that which exists. ie., Existence can only be proved in terms of existence. Because only Existence exists: This is the Axiom of Existence.

– Avinash Kumar

Primacy of Existence

Existence is everything that exists. Consciousness is the faculty which perceives that which exists. Two contending fundamental premises that direct the course of Philosophy in opposite directions, depending on which one accepts as the truth, are: “Primacy of Existence” vs “Primacy of Consciousness”. ie., the claim that “Existence is an absolute, which exists independent of any consciousness” vs the claim that “Consciousness is an absolute, which can exist independent of existence”.

Philosophical theories that propose to abandon reason, either outright, or which sanction mysticism after reaching a point of enquiry,—including theistic theories— are structured on the primacy of consciousness, and all such theories are false, because the premise is false.

Since consciousness is the faculty which perceives that which exists, it cannot exist independent of that, which it perceives. ie., to claim a content-less state of consciousness is a contradiction in terms. To be conscious is to be conscious of something. To claim that consciousness can be conscious of nothing but itself is also a contradiction in terms. Because, to be conscious of itself, it must first be conscious of existence other than itself: an act through which consciousness acquires its content and identity. ie., it is the fact of existence which makes the fact of consciousness possible, not the other way around.

By the time consciousness becomes aware of its own existence, the knowledge is implicitly available to consciousness: that its perception is not a necessary condition for existence of that which exists—that existence exists, independent of whether any consciousness exists to perceive it or not. 

In this context, a similarity can be observed between the organisms possessing consciousness and digital computer systems. The organism’s sensory system can be compared to the hardware components, while the consciousness is comparable to the software/operating code, which derives its content from the external world, through the hardware. The fallacy one perpetrates in claiming the “primacy of consciousness” is similar in nature to the fallacy of claiming that software can exist independent of external world, and that it is software which makes the external world—including the hardware— possible, while the reverse is the truth.

– Avinash Kumar.

Problems of the World

All the problems plaguing the world today are in fact problems of Science. And all of them are completely solvable within a time span of few decades, by understanding the identities of existents, especially Man. First thing to grasp is the fundamental law of existence. The rule that makes all knowledge possible: A is A.

Psychology of a subjectivist

A subjectivist is any man who fails to understand that reality is objective absolute. He doesn’t see that facts are facts: completely independent of his feelings, desires, hopes or fears. He says “What is right for you is not right for me.” Before you conclude that there is nothing wrong with it, I challenge you to think further.

Examine this statement, “What is right for you is not right for me.” You might think that he is talking about a merely personal emotional preferences of colour of a particular pen, or a style of a certain piece of furniture, the reason for such preferences being not yet discovered by science. But he is actually basing his statement on the false premise that “Nothing is knowable.” ie., he is maintaining that there is no way of knowing anything, thereby stunting his own ability to think.

If you wonder what is the harm, observe that no emotion is causeless. (Refer my previous article— “Values, The source of Emotions”) You emotionally respond to any fact of existence only because you value something. No emotional response is independent of some value. So the statement, “What is right for you is not right for me” actually means, “What is a value for you is not a value for me.”

But even choice of values is not subjective. You choose your values to function in this world. In other words, if you choose to live, you can value something only to further your own life, any man’s ultimate value. This choice is not subjective. A man who doesn’t value his life will cease to be a living organism. Reason is the primary value for a man because it is his only way to sustain his own life, and it is only because he values his own life.

Hence, the statement “What is a value for you is not a value for me” actually means, “What is a fact for you is not a fact for me”. Now you can see what is wrong with subjectivism. By accepting the false premise that Reality is subjective, a subjectivist recklessly tries to place himself outside the reality in which he is existing, (which he never can) without bothering to know its nature.

To make the situation more blatant, see what a subjectivist will say, when he completely suspends his reason, a choice he voluntarily made. “A rape is a rape you for, but not for me.” “Wealth is wealth for you, but not for me.” “A murder is a murder for you, but not for me.” And ultimately, “Existence exists for you, but not for me.” Hence, giving himself the permission to commit any action and a subjective justification to escape the responsibility for his actions. But nothing escapes the law of identity.

A rape is a rape, and by saying that it is subjective, you are trying to invalidate the person’s right to act on the judgement of her own mind. Wealth is wealth,  and by saying it is subjective, you are trying to invalidate a man’s right to his own property. A murder is a murder and by saying it is subjective, you are trying to invalidate a man’s right to his own life. Existence exists. By saying that existence is subjective, you are trying to invalidate your own existence.

This is the evil initiated by the self-proclaimed philosophers who based their entire theories on the false premise that Existence is subjective. And the blatant disregard for commitment to Reason you see in the world today is the consequence of that false premise.

Existence is objective reality. A is A. A man who seeks to escape from the law of identity has voluntarily put himself on the path to destruction, which he will achieve, not subjectively, but actually.

Avinash Kumar