Betsy Speicher

Concepts and language

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Ayn Rand stated that all concepts must have a word to designate them, which serves as the mental concrete under which the units are integrated. There are no exceptions. She gave the reason for this in terms of mental unit economy and the cognitive purpose of concepts. If you don't have a single mental concrete designating the concept you are left with an open-ended sum, not the required integration of unlimited units into a single mental unit one employs when using a concept in one's thought. If you are thinking in terms of sums of units you using associated memory, in this case of percepts, not concepts. You cannot do it it at all for the unlimited, open-ended sums that are subsumed by concepts. There is no exception for first-level concepts.

I have never seen anyone else claim that first-level concepts do not, or do not require, a word to designate them, or that Ayn Rand said or thought that, for which there is not evidence -- beyond deliberately omitting what she wrote through selective quotations, which is not evidence. Generalities appealing to vague accusations of linguistic analysis and logical positivism do not help.

Casta . "Private Language Problem." Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006. HighBeam Research. (November 23, 2010).http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G2-3446801647.html

What does this cite have to do with Ayn Rand's view of the function of words?

Did you read it?

I read it enough to see that the author is expressing his own view of language, but what does it have to do with Ayn Rand's view that concept formation requires the use of words?

The expression "concept formation requires the use of words" standing alone is meaningless. That is why Rand seven paragraphs into her exposition of concept formation explains that "word" in a "language" is certainly not the same "word" as in a spoken language in early development of a child's mind and less certainly implies that the process itself is not as a function of the mind spoken-language dependent. Understanding Rand sometimes requires a broad range of understanding in the sciences and philosophy that perhaps she naively expected of her students as a given. One not even knowing what a private language is a lamentable sign of a poor education in the sciences.

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[The words "light" as a concept; "switch" as a concept; "turning off" as a concept are malformed in your language because light to the toddler is not like a physicist understands it, the switch is not like an electrician understands it, and the physiometrics of the toddler's hand is not like a physician understands it.]

Whose "language" are you talking about?

Okay, inasmuch as a language is properly defined as a means of communication between at least two people, the pre-verbal child has no language to concretize his concepts in language to an adult. This is baseless nit-picking over what I was saying in my use of the word "language". The concept formed in the mind of the toddler will not be as an electrician, a physicist or a physician would do in each of their minds, but it is wrong to consider that because so, the toddler will not be able to form a good working first generalization. This is contrary to your assertion that it is not possible to form a valid generalization without good (i.e., not "malformed") concepts. Furthermore, one must also be sure to note that the first-order concept is not the same as a percept (of light, of the switch, of the movement of one's arms and hands) which would be the same for a child as it would be for an adult.

You wrote "malformed in your language". Please answer the question of whose language you are talking about. Who are you addressing?

Sidestepping that with a discourse on "language" and more gratuitous accusations of "nitpicking" is not a response.

Inasmuch as a language is properly defined as a means of communication between at least two people, ...

This idea is very much at odds with Ayn Rand's presentation in ItOE.

Concepts and, therefore, language are primarily a tool of cognition—not of communication, as is usually assumed. Communication is merely the consequence, not the cause nor the primary purpose of concept-formation—a crucial consequence, of invaluable importance to men, but still only a consequence. Cognition precedes communication; the necessary precondition of communication is that one have something to communicate. (This is true even of communication among animals, or of communication by grunts and growls among inarticulate men, let alone of communication by means of so complex and exacting a tool as language.) The primary purpose of concepts and of language is to provide man with a system of cognitive classification and organization, which enables him to acquire knowledge on an unlimited scale; this means: to keep order in man's mind and enable him to think.

Yes, it is summed up by "cognition precedes communication" as the fundamental purpose of language. You cannot communicate what you cannot think.

In that language precedes communication, it is true that is what Rand posits, and is not at odds with what I said. In that the "English language" (as a means of communication between two people) can only come after "language" as an internal tool of cognition is also not at odds with what I have said. One may have "language" as an internal tool of cognition [though this is conjectural from cognitive science] while also not knowing a single word of "English language" and that is also not at odds with what I have said, for otherwise one is saying that "English language" is necessary for concept-formation which is what is inferred from what you said and is certainly at odds with what Rand said in that a pre-verbal child can form concepts without a communicative (e.g., English) language --"wordlessly" as Rand said -- that is necessary for communication. There are two different meanings for "language" here: one, certain, as in a language of communication and certainly unnecesary for concept-formation and the other, conjectural or perhaps only metaphorical, as from cognitive science which is not verbal.

CBell certainly is "at odds" with Objective epistemology on the role of language in what he writes here. There are not two different kinds of language, one cognitive (which he deems "conjectured" or "metaphorical") and the other communicative (which he deems to be "unnecessary" for concept formation). In Objectivist epistemology words are required to be able to hold concepts in the form of mental entitites that are perceptual concretes, and there are not two different kinds of language, only one, which you use both to think and to communicate those thoughts (and both of which normally require more complexity of language than just a vocabulary of words).

It's not hard to imagine, and sometimes observe, what happens when someone tries to think, in whole or in part, without words in what is only "metaphorically" a language and the kind of disconnected gibberish that results when he "communicates" in another "language". There are many possibilities, each of which could have more than one cause -- one is that it comes out as disconnected generalizations in the form of recited slogans with little relation to thoughts communicated by others and understood.

CBell began by making the assertion, "The words 'light' as a concept; 'switch' as a concept; 'turning off' as a concept are malformed in your language", then instead of answering when asked whose language here he was talking about, i.e., whom he was addressing, he wrote that "a language is properly defined as a means of communication between at least two people" and repeated an assertion that a child does not have the same kind of understanding as an adult -- as if anyone had said otherwise insofar as there are different degrees of knowledge and scope and depth of understanding between children and adults (but only that).

This was in the context of his asserting that first-level concepts are "non-verbal" and do not each have a word associated with them, apparently also intended to mean that the concepts themselves are different between a child and an adult. He was arguing that first-level concepts do not require language (for anyone, not just children), and mis-defined language as essentially for communication. (He may also have meant to insinuate by this that he thinks concepts like 'switch' and 'turn off' are first-level.)

Now in response to the Objectivist principle that "cognition precedes communication" and that language is required for thought before one can communicate it, he says that Ayn Rand merely "posits" that language precedes communication, and goes on to tell us that "One may have 'language' as an internal tool of cognition [though this is conjectural from cognitive science] while also not knowing a single word of 'English language' and that is also not at odds with what I have said." [His brackets and emphasis.]

His now introducing and stressing "the English language" is his own addition, and so is his claiming that language as an "internal tool of cognition" is only "conjectural". Ayn Rand did not say that language must be English or that the beginnings of language in children have such an implied grammar. It is only the beginning of a vocabulary. But it is language (not "conjectured") and is first used to cognitively identify objects, not "a means of communication between at least two people". CBell insisted once again that concepts are "non-verbal", denigrating language used in cognition as "conjectural or perhaps only metaphorical", and claimed that "language of communication", which he apparently believes is the only 'real' kind of language, is "certainly unnecesary for concept-formation" [his emphasis].

The reasons given by Ayn Rand for why words are required to have concepts have been discussed previously. A good deal of our thought processes are automatic on the sub-conscious level, depending on what we have learned and how our minds are 'programmed' by our efforts to know and think properly, but any explicit identification or formulation of knowledge is in terms of language (i.e., some particular language, whatever language we understand, such as English, and which could be in more than one for those who are multi-lingual and have internalized additional languages to the extent of "thinking in another language"). The cognitive ability to do that precedes any attempt to communicate ideas to others, and it relies on language of which there is only kind, not a separate "communication" language and a "conjectured" "cognitive" language.

Such conceptual thinking in terms of language starts with first-level concepts, and necessarily continues with higher level abstractions where thinking in terms of percepts is no longer feasible at all for higher level concepts properly formed and retained, and requires much more complexity of language than vocabulary.

CBell certainly is "at odds" with Objective epistemology on the role of language in what he writes here

No, Cbell is not "odds" with O'ist epistemology.

There are not two different kinds of language, one cognitive (which he deems "conjectured" or "metaphorical") and the other communicative (which he deems to be "unnecessary" for concept formation).

Yes, there are two different meanings of the use of the word "language" as Cbell took pains to explain.

It's not hard to imagine, and sometimes observe, what happens when someone tries to think, in whole or in part, without words

It was not hard for Rand to imagine, for she said just that. ITOE 2. paragraph 7ff.

CBell began by making the assertion . . . that a child does not have the same kind of understanding as an adult . . .

Cbell began by quoting Rand in ITOE in Chapter 2. on concept formation paragraph 7ff in which Rand asserts a child who has no knowledge of words grasps a concept wordlessly.

. . . apparently also intended to mean that the concepts themselves are different between a child and an adult . . .

Yes, the concept of a light switch is different between a toddler and an electrician. That is called Objectivist contextual epistemology.

He was arguing that first-level concepts do not require language . . .

Cbell was arguing that first-level concepts do not require a spoken language and that is particularly what makes them first-level concepts.

Reading the book by David Harriman, The Logical Leap helps those who already have a good understanding of this topic and may provide the rudiments to any understanding to the those who do not know of or about Objectivist epistemology.

but any explicit identification or formulation of knowledge is in terms of language (i.e., some particular language, whatever language we understand, such as English

Rand said the nature of the process of the grasping of a concept at first-level (i.e. as if by a child who is without a spoken language, such as English) is done wordlessly.

<<Let us now examine the process of forming the simplest concept, the concept of a single attribute . . . if the process were identified in words, it would consist of the following . . . The child does not think in such words (he has, as yet, no knowledge of words), but that is the nature of the process which his mind performs wordlessly. >>

There is no context in which these words can be placed where Rand means that " any explicit identification or formulation of knowledge is in terms of language (i.e., some particular language, whatever language we understand, such as English)"

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Ayn Rand stated that all concepts must have a word to designate them, which serves as the mental concrete under which the units are integrated. There are no exceptions. She gave the reason for this in terms of mental unit economy and the cognitive purpose of concepts. If you don't have a single mental concrete designating the concept you are left with an open-ended sum, not the required integration of unlimited units into a single mental unit one employs when using a concept in one's thought. If you are thinking in terms of sums of units you using associated memory, in this case of percepts, not concepts. You cannot do it it at all for the unlimited, open-ended sums that are subsumed by concepts. There is no exception for first-level concepts.

I have never seen anyone else claim that first-level concepts do not, or do not require, a word to designate them, or that Ayn Rand said or thought that, for which there is not evidence -- beyond deliberately omitting what she wrote through selective quotations, which is not evidence. Generalities appealing to vague accusations of linguistic analysis and logical positivism do not help.

Casta . "Private Language Problem." Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006. HighBeam Research. (November 23, 2010).http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G2-3446801647.html

What does this cite have to do with Ayn Rand's view of the function of words?

Did you read it?

I read it enough to see that the author is expressing his own view of language, but what does it have to do with Ayn Rand's view that concept formation requires the use of words?

Nietzsche and a non-objectivist view on private language and concept formation: http://faculty.ed.uiuc.edu/burbules/syllab...istemology.html

Nietzsche is willing to admit that we are acquainted with reality but the reality of our thoughts, language, and consciousness, the realm that supposedly makes up the kernel of mankind and makes man most human ("The Philosopher" 94; GS 11). And it is this realm, the realm of thoughts, which we take, in comparison with the realm of actions, willing, and experiences, to be the realm of our freedom (BD 125). To this Nietzsche must respond that we are again gravely mistaken: for thinking itself is language, and thereby our consciousness is nothing more than language. While in words we assume we are able to share our experiences with others to thereby break free of our prison caused by sensation, we are mistaken in thinking that words, a social convention, can really give individuals private expressions or allow for self-understanding. How this can be is simple: thought or "consciousness does not belong to an individual’s existence but rather to his social nature…and that fundamentally, all out actions are altogether incomparably personal, unique, and infinitely individual; but as soon as we translate them into consciousness they no longer seem to be" (GS 354).

What this means is that consciousness, or thought, is not private; there is no such thing as private language. Consciousness developed out of the need for individuals to communicate. As such, consciousness does not really belong to a man’s individual existence but rather to his social or herd nature. Those experiences, feelings, and thoughts that rise to consciousness are, thereby, those that have been required by social utility. Similarly, what we call an "inner experience only enters consciousness after it has found a language the individual understands —i.e., a translation of a condition into a condition familiar to him "

To deny a private language and placing the existence of concept-formation solely on spoken languages is to say : "consciousness does not belong to an individual’s existence but rather to his social nature" in one fashion or another. By not tying lower-level concepts to community languages Objectivism is unique in holding fast to the notion of concept-formation without any particular spoken language.

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Inasmuch as a language is properly defined as a means of communication between at least two people, ...

This idea is very much at odds with Ayn Rand's presentation in ItOE.

Concepts and, therefore, language are primarily a tool of cognition—not of communication, as is usually assumed. Communication is merely the consequence, not the cause nor the primary purpose of concept-formation—a crucial consequence, of invaluable importance to men, but still only a consequence. Cognition precedes communication; the necessary precondition of communication is that one have something to communicate. (This is true even of communication among animals, or of communication by grunts and growls among inarticulate men, let alone of communication by means of so complex and exacting a tool as language.) The primary purpose of concepts and of language is to provide man with a system of cognitive classification and organization, which enables him to acquire knowledge on an unlimited scale; this means: to keep order in man's mind and enable him to think.

Yes, it is summed up by "cognition precedes communication" as the fundamental purpose of language. You cannot communicate what you cannot think.

In that language precedes communication, it is true that is what Rand posits, and is not at odds with what I said. In that the "English language" (as a means of communication between two people) can only come after "language" as an internal tool of cognition is also not at odds with what I have said. One may have "language" as an internal tool of cognition [though this is conjectural from cognitive science] while also not knowing a single word of "English language" and that is also not at odds with what I have said, for otherwise one is saying that "English language" is necessary for concept-formation which is what is inferred from what you said and is certainly at odds with what Rand said in that a pre-verbal child can form concepts without a communicative (e.g., English) language --"wordlessly" as Rand said -- that is necessary for communication. There are two different meanings for "language" here: one, certain, as in a language of communication and certainly unnecesary for concept-formation and the other, conjectural or perhaps only metaphorical, as from cognitive science which is not verbal.

http://www.duke.edu/~pk10/language/psych.htm

First of all, Chomsky, Gardner, and others of similar ideologies believe that infants are born with a significant prewired knowledge of how languages work and how they do not work. Views within this group vary slightly, but they all hold to this basic tenet and cite ample evidence in defense of this view. These proponents of the innateness of linguistic ability also believe that the genetic basis for language came about as the result of Darwinian evolution and by an extension of the "survival of the fittest" argument. Again, individual views vary slightly, but all supporters of this school of thought see language as a product of Darwinian evolution.

[This may be seen as rationalist-determinist.]

On the other hand, Piaget, Clark, and others see the newborn as possesing only a few basic cognitive abilities. The more specific abilities we see in the developing child, they argue, are due to interactions with the environment and are independent of any inheritable code found in the genes. They place language skills in this category, and so they disagree completely with Chomsky�s assertion that humans inherit certain linguistic knowledge (Gardner 80). In addition, proponents of the Nurture ideology view public language as a tool constructed by people for use by people, and they believe its development is due to cultural evolution, a completely different mechanism for change.

[This may be seen as empiricist-behaviourist.]

The Objectivist view is to be neither, of course. "Language" in concept-formation in the first-level, as the the child who does so wordlessly (OL), is a metaphor to "language" as a culturally derived means of communication (VL). Concept-formation before the means to communicate has arrived (in VL) and even after a communicative language has been learnt is descriptive of a mental process (OL) in which every concept is to be grasped in specific definition as if a word in a (VL) language, but there is no innate linguistic ability as given by Chomsky nor any arbitrariness to language ability as given by Piaget. Concept-formation by words within a private language (OL) is from the same mental source, which is genetically coded, as the ability to learn a (VL) language but is not the same as the ability to learn a (VL) language and certainly not the (VL) language itself or dependent on the (VL) language itself.

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Inasmuch as a language is properly defined as a means of communication between at least two people, ...

This idea is very much at odds with Ayn Rand's presentation in ItOE.

Concepts and, therefore, language are primarily a tool of cognition—not of communication, as is usually assumed. Communication is merely the consequence, not the cause nor the primary purpose of concept-formation—a crucial consequence, of invaluable importance to men, but still only a consequence. Cognition precedes communication; the necessary precondition of communication is that one have something to communicate. (This is true even of communication among animals, or of communication by grunts and growls among inarticulate men, let alone of communication by means of so complex and exacting a tool as language.) The primary purpose of concepts and of language is to provide man with a system of cognitive classification and organization, which enables him to acquire knowledge on an unlimited scale; this means: to keep order in man's mind and enable him to think.

Yes, it is summed up by "cognition precedes communication" as the fundamental purpose of language. You cannot communicate what you cannot think.

In that language precedes communication, it is true that is what Rand posits, and is not at odds with what I said. In that the "English language" (as a means of communication between two people) can only come after "language" as an internal tool of cognition is also not at odds with what I have said. One may have "language" as an internal tool of cognition [though this is conjectural from cognitive science] while also not knowing a single word of "English language" and that is also not at odds with what I have said, for otherwise one is saying that "English language" is necessary for concept-formation which is what is inferred from what you said and is certainly at odds with what Rand said in that a pre-verbal child can form concepts without a communicative (e.g., English) language --"wordlessly" as Rand said -- that is necessary for communication. There are two different meanings for "language" here: one, certain, as in a language of communication and certainly unnecesary for concept-formation and the other, conjectural or perhaps only metaphorical, as from cognitive science which is not verbal.

http://www.duke.edu/~pk10/language/psych.htm

First of all, Chomsky, Gardner, and others of similar ideologies believe that infants are born with a significant prewired knowledge of how languages work and how they do not work. Views within this group vary slightly, but they all hold to this basic tenet and cite ample evidence in defense of this view. These proponents of the innateness of linguistic ability also believe that the genetic basis for language came about as the result of Darwinian evolution and by an extension of the "survival of the fittest" argument. Again, individual views vary slightly, but all supporters of this school of thought see language as a product of Darwinian evolution.

[This may be seen as rationalist-determinist.]

On the other hand, Piaget, Clark, and others see the newborn as possesing only a few basic cognitive abilities. The more specific abilities we see in the developing child, they argue, are due to interactions with the environment and are independent of any inheritable code found in the genes. They place language skills in this category, and so they disagree completely with Chomsky�s assertion that humans inherit certain linguistic knowledge (Gardner 80). In addition, proponents of the Nurture ideology view public language as a tool constructed by people for use by people, and they believe its development is due to cultural evolution, a completely different mechanism for change.

[This may be seen as empiricist-behaviourist.]

The Objectivist view is to be neither, of course. "Language" in concept-formation in the first-level, as the the child who does so wordlessly (OL), is a metaphor to "language" as a culturally derived means of communication (VL). Concept-formation before the means to communicate has arrived (in VL) and even after a communicative language has been learnt is descriptive of a mental process (OL) in which every concept is to be grasped in specific definition as if a word in a (VL) language, but there is no innate linguistic ability as given by Chomsky nor any arbitrariness to language ability as given by Piaget. Concept-formation by words within a private language (OL) is from the same mental source, which is genetically coded, as the ability to learn a (VL) language but is not the same as the ability to learn a (VL) language and certainly not the (VL) language itself or dependent on the (VL) language itself.

Is the above an example of a "private language?" I ask because it communicates nothing to me. Is there any other person reading this who can explain what this means to me in terms I can understand?

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Inasmuch as a language is properly defined as a means of communication between at least two people, ...

This idea is very much at odds with Ayn Rand's presentation in ItOE.

Concepts and, therefore, language are primarily a tool of cognition—not of communication, as is usually assumed. Communication is merely the consequence, not the cause nor the primary purpose of concept-formation—a crucial consequence, of invaluable importance to men, but still only a consequence. Cognition precedes communication; the necessary precondition of communication is that one have something to communicate. (This is true even of communication among animals, or of communication by grunts and growls among inarticulate men, let alone of communication by means of so complex and exacting a tool as language.) The primary purpose of concepts and of language is to provide man with a system of cognitive classification and organization, which enables him to acquire knowledge on an unlimited scale; this means: to keep order in man's mind and enable him to think.

Yes, it is summed up by "cognition precedes communication" as the fundamental purpose of language. You cannot communicate what you cannot think.

In that language precedes communication, it is true that is what Rand posits, and is not at odds with what I said. In that the "English language" (as a means of communication between two people) can only come after "language" as an internal tool of cognition is also not at odds with what I have said. One may have "language" as an internal tool of cognition [though this is conjectural from cognitive science] while also not knowing a single word of "English language" and that is also not at odds with what I have said, for otherwise one is saying that "English language" is necessary for concept-formation which is what is inferred from what you said and is certainly at odds with what Rand said in that a pre-verbal child can form concepts without a communicative (e.g., English) language --"wordlessly" as Rand said -- that is necessary for communication. There are two different meanings for "language" here: one, certain, as in a language of communication and certainly unnecesary for concept-formation and the other, conjectural or perhaps only metaphorical, as from cognitive science which is not verbal.

http://www.duke.edu/~pk10/language/psych.htm

First of all, Chomsky, Gardner, and others of similar ideologies believe that infants are born with a significant prewired knowledge of how languages work and how they do not work. Views within this group vary slightly, but they all hold to this basic tenet and cite ample evidence in defense of this view. These proponents of the innateness of linguistic ability also believe that the genetic basis for language came about as the result of Darwinian evolution and by an extension of the "survival of the fittest" argument. Again, individual views vary slightly, but all supporters of this school of thought see language as a product of Darwinian evolution.

[This may be seen as rationalist-determinist.]

On the other hand, Piaget, Clark, and others see the newborn as possesing only a few basic cognitive abilities. The more specific abilities we see in the developing child, they argue, are due to interactions with the environment and are independent of any inheritable code found in the genes. They place language skills in this category, and so they disagree completely with Chomsky�s assertion that humans inherit certain linguistic knowledge (Gardner 80). In addition, proponents of the Nurture ideology view public language as a tool constructed by people for use by people, and they believe its development is due to cultural evolution, a completely different mechanism for change.

[This may be seen as empiricist-behaviourist.]

The Objectivist view is to be neither, of course. "Language" in concept-formation in the first-level, as the the child who does so wordlessly (OL), is a metaphor to "language" as a culturally derived means of communication (VL). Concept-formation before the means to communicate has arrived (in VL) and even after a communicative language has been learnt is descriptive of a mental process (OL) in which every concept is to be grasped in specific definition as if a word in a (VL) language, but there is no innate linguistic ability as given by Chomsky nor any arbitrariness to language ability as given by Piaget. Concept-formation by words within a private language (OL) is from the same mental source, which is genetically coded, as the ability to learn a (VL) language but is not the same as the ability to learn a (VL) language and certainly not the (VL) language itself or dependent on the (VL) language itself.

Is the above an example of a "private language?" I ask because it communicates nothing to me. Is there any other person reading this who can explain what this means to me in terms I can understand?

Are you still wondering whatever Harriman could mean by "first-order concept" in his book, Logical Leap? I ask because certainly an obstruction in understanding what is a first-order concept would lead to a puzzlement over the Objectivist premises Harriman uses in his book.

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Is the above an example of a "private language?" I ask because it communicates nothing to me. Is there any other person reading this who can explain what this means to me in terms I can understand?

Are you still wondering whatever Harriman could mean by "first-order concept" in his book, Logical Leap? I ask because certainly an obstruction in understanding what is a first-order concept would lead to a puzzlement over the Objectivist premises Harriman uses in his book.

This answer communicates nothing to me and does not answer the question I raised as to whether cbell97 was writing in a private language rather than to communicate. Instead, cbell97 raises additional issues which I will respond to.

Ayn Rand and Harriman usually refer to "first-level concepts" rather than "first-order concepts" and I know what Ayn Rand meant. The Peikoff-Harriman theory of induction introduces a new term -- "first-level generalization" -- which Ayn Rand never used and, therefore, is not an "Objectivist premise" if you mean created or endorsed by Ayn Rand. I and others question the validity of the idea of a "first-level generalization," arguing that it is self-contradictory as Harriman defines and uses it in his book.

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Is the above an example of a "private language?" I ask because it communicates nothing to me. Is there any other person reading this who can explain what this means to me in terms I can understand?

I don't know if it was intended to be written in a "private language" (which was supposed to be "non-verbal" and as is demonstrated here would be better off kept that way) or the "language of communication" separated from cognition (which demonstrates the same thing). Either way it doesn't communicate coherent thoughts to me either so you're not alone; you haven't missed anything. None of this lecturing at us and talking down to us, the content of which is all claimed to somehow not be "at odds" with Ayn Rand, has anything to do with Objectivism or LL, and neither do the repetition and out of context quote fragments address what either Ayn Rand has said or what anyone else here has said.

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Is the above an example of a "private language?" I ask because it communicates nothing to me. Is there any other person reading this who can explain what this means to me in terms I can understand?

Are you still wondering whatever Harriman could mean by "first-order concept" in his book, Logical Leap? I ask because certainly an obstruction in understanding what is a first-order concept would lead to a puzzlement over the Objectivist premises Harriman uses in his book.

This answer communicates nothing to me and does not answer the question I raised as to whether cbell97 was writing in a private language rather than to communicate. Instead, cbell97 raises additional issues which I will respond to.

Ayn Rand and Harriman usually refer to "first-level concepts" rather than "first-order concepts" and I know what Ayn Rand meant. The Peikoff-Harriman theory of induction introduces a new term -- "first-level generalization" -- which Ayn Rand never used and, therefore, is not an "Objectivist premise" if you mean created or endorsed by Ayn Rand. I and others question the validity of the idea of a "first-level generalization," arguing that it is self-contradictory as Harriman defines and uses it in his book.

Because I thought the question was in sarcasm or out of ignorance of what "private language" means, I avoided it.

I sometimes mistakenly write "first-order" when I mean to write "first-level".

The answer was a follow-up on your question posed, and never answered, as to what you sought on HBL on what Harriman meant by first-level concept. It may have been in the context of a "first-level generalization" which Harriman very well defines in his book. I used Harriman's example of the pre-verbal child and the light switch (an event I myself have observed) and the sort of valid generalizations that a child could and would make but these would be first-level generalizations, and not higher-level generalizations from higher-level concepts that come later in cognitive development and not coincidently after acquiring a spoken language. As a side note: I have observed and was, in fact, one who was in a rarely manifested transition phase between the private language and the acquired cultural language in which a close sibling would translate to adults. This happens in the 1y 6mo to 3 yr range. To continue: as Rand, Harriman starts here, in the first level, and with a pre-verbal child, with simple concepts one step up from the perceptual level. What about about that is hard for you to comprehend? Moreover, in a hierarchy of ever-more complex concepts, and in the hindsight of history, the levels may be used in a relative way: one might say "impetus" is the first-level concept to a generalization on a law of inertia because it is the one closest to the perceptual level and "inertia-impetus" hybrid next up and then "intertia". The point made very clear in Harriman's book is that a higher-level generalization would be made from higher-level concepts and not stuck at the lower level of concepts. Again: I ask: how is that hard to comprehend and "self-contradictory". The demonstrated problem of science devoid of induction and stuck in analytical-deduction is that the concepts are not allowed to progress from lower to higher level of complexity but remain fixed often as immutable axioms.

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The Peikoff-Harriman theory of induction introduces a new term -- "first-level generalization" -- which Ayn Rand never used and, therefore, is not an "Objectivist premise" if you mean created or endorsed by Ayn Rand. I and others question the validity of the idea of a "first-level generalization," arguing that it is self-contradictory as Harriman defines and uses it in his book.

It is generally taken that since Peikoff's OPAR was sanctioned by Rand that there would be nothing in it with which she would disagree. Refer to Chapter 3 paragraph 2 on "generalization" If a generalization consists of concepts and there are only first-level concepts avaliable (as to a pre-verbal child) then why is it not to be called a first-level generalization?

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The Peikoff-Harriman theory of induction introduces a new term -- "first-level generalization" -- which Ayn Rand never used and, therefore, is not an "Objectivist premise" if you mean created or endorsed by Ayn Rand. I and others question the validity of the idea of a "first-level generalization," arguing that it is self-contradictory as Harriman defines and uses it in his book.

It is generally taken that since Peikoff's OPAR was sanctioned by Rand that there would be nothing in it with which she would disagree.

OPAR was written after Ayn Rand's death so she could not possibly have sanctioned it. That is why Peikoff wrote

Because of my thirty years of study under her, and by her own statement, I am the person next to Ayn Rand who is the most qualified to write this book. Since she did not live to see it, however, she is not responsible for any misstatements of her views it may contain, nor can the book be properly described as "official Objectivist doctrine."
Refer to Chapter 3 paragraph 2 on "generalization."

That paragraph reads:

For example: if someone were to infer a given man's mortality from the fact that there is a huge funeral industry in every country, this would not be a proper proof. The funeral industry is a consequence of our knowledge of human mortality, not a precondition of such knowledge. The standard Socrates syllogism, by contrast, does validate its conclusion. It derives Socrates' mortality from a truly antecedent generalization (which in turn integrates countless observations of men and of other living organisms).

This says is that a valid deduction via a syllogism requires an valid antecedent generalization which integrates many observations. How is this relevant to the next sentence in the post?:

If a generalization consists of concepts and there are only first-level concepts avaliable (as to a pre-verbal child) then why is it not to be called a first-level generalization?

It doesn't matter what it is called, but I and others contend that what Harriman calls a "first-level generalization" is a package-deal of contradictory attributes that, because it is self-contradictory, is a concept that cannot exist in reality and has no real referents. The examples offered by Harriman of such first-level generalization do not meet his own definition of the concept. (See http://tinyurl.com/29h523j)

Also, yet to be justified is the idea that a child forms and retains any concepts without designating each concept with a word. Although the process may have been performed wordlessly, Ayn Rand has stated explicitly that assigning a word is always necessary to complete the process.

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The answer was a follow-up on your question posed, and never answered, as to what you sought on HBL on what Harriman meant by first-level concept.

I don't know what this refers to, but I did discuss the idea of "first-level generalizations" earlier on this thread and anyone interested in what I wrote can find it using THE FORUM's search feature.

It may have been in the context of a "first-level generalization" which Harriman very well defines in his book. I used Harriman's example of the pre-verbal child

Is this Harriman's concept or an inference? Where does Harriman discuss a "pre-verbal child?"

and the light switch (an event I myself have observed) and the sort of valid generalizations that a child could and would make but these would be first-level generalizations, and not higher-level generalizations from higher-level concepts that come later in cognitive development and not coincidently after acquiring a spoken language.

Whose views are these? Harriman's? If so, where?

As a side note: I have observed and was, in fact, one who was in a rarely manifested transition phase between the private language and the acquired cultural language in which a close sibling would translate to adults. This happens in the 1y 6mo to 3 yr range.

I still need a translator to understand Cbell.

To continue: as Rand, Harriman starts here, in the first level, and with a pre-verbal child, with simple concepts one step up from the perceptual level. What about about that is hard for you to comprehend?

I cannot comprehend how a child could retain a concept with using a word and Ayn Rand said explicitly that he could not. Unless you prove -- and not merely continue to assert -- that a "pre-verbal child", contrary to what Ayn Rand wrote, can retain a concept without a word, any further assertions to that effect will not be posted.

Moreover, in a hierarchy of ever-more complex concepts, and in the hindsight of history, the levels may be used in a relative way: one might say "impetus" is the first-level concept to a generalization on a law of inertia because it is the one closest to the perceptual level and "inertia-impetus" hybrid next up and then "intertia". The point made very clear in Harriman's book is that a higher-level generalization would be made from higher-level concepts and not stuck at the lower level of concepts. Again: I ask: how is that hard to comprehend and "self-contradictory". The demonstrated problem of science devoid of induction and stuck in analytical-deduction is that the concepts are not allowed to progress from lower to higher level of complexity but remain fixed often as immutable axioms.

This paragraph definitely needs a translator.

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The Objectivist view is to be neither, of course. "Language" in concept-formation in the first-level, as the the child who does so wordlessly (OL), is a metaphor to "language" as a culturally derived means of communication (VL). Concept-formation before the means to communicate has arrived (in VL) and even after a communicative language has been learnt is descriptive of a mental process (OL) in which every concept is to be grasped in specific definition as if a word in a (VL) language, but there is no innate linguistic ability as given by Chomsky nor any arbitrariness to language ability as given by Piaget. Concept-formation by words within a private language (OL) is from the same mental source, which is genetically coded, as the ability to learn a (VL) language but is not the same as the ability to learn a (VL) language and certainly not the (VL) language itself or dependent on the (VL) language itself.

Is the above an example of a "private language?" I ask because it communicates nothing to me. Is there any other person reading this who can explain what this means to me in terms I can understand?

I understand it neither.

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Moreover, in a hierarchy of ever-more complex concepts, and in the hindsight of history, the levels may be used in a relative way: one might say "impetus" is the first-level concept to a generalization on a law of inertia because it is the one closest to the perceptual level and "inertia-impetus" hybrid next up and then "intertia". The point made very clear in Harriman's book is that a higher-level generalization would be made from higher-level concepts and not stuck at the lower level of concepts. Again: I ask: how is that hard to comprehend and "self-contradictory". The demonstrated problem of science devoid of induction and stuck in analytical-deduction is that the concepts are not allowed to progress from lower to higher level of complexity but remain fixed often as immutable axioms.

This paragraph definitely needs a translator.

You didn't say what language you want it translated into, so here it is in Latin, according to Google Translate

Praeterea in Hierarchiam semper conceptus magis compositas, et hindsight historiae gradus sit amet, relative via aliquis dicat Impetus est prima conceptio-level in general in eo legem inertiae ipse est qui proxima planitie sensibili "inertia-impetus: deinde sursum hybrid tunc intertia. Punctum nimis Harriman patet quod Liber superioris general-level essent ex superioribus conceptus-level stuck non ad inferiorem gradum conceptus. Item quaero: Quomodo comprehendere durum et contrarie se. Demonstratum scientiae quaestio sine inductione et analytica haesit-deductio quod conceptus non progredi licet ab inferioribus ad superiora vero complexionem level fixa immutabili quoties axiomatibus.

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Moreover, in a hierarchy of ever-more complex concepts, and in the hindsight of history, the levels may be used in a relative way: one might say "impetus" ... and stuck in analytical-deduction is that the concepts are not allowed to progress from lower to higher level of complexity but remain fixed often as immutable axioms.

This paragraph definitely needs a translator.

You didn't say what language you want it translated into, so here it is in Latin, according to Google Translate

Praeterea in Hierarchiam semper conceptus magis ...

That may very well be magic, but are words allowed at all if the "private language" is Latin? Are such singular injection mappings into nothingness allowed? Did Wittgenstein also have a private mapping argument? This has infinite possibilities (or none if you're going the other way.)

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The Peikoff-Harriman theory of induction introduces a new term -- "first-level generalization" -- which Ayn Rand never used and, therefore, is not an "Objectivist premise" if you mean created or endorsed by Ayn Rand. I and others question the validity of the idea of a "first-level generalization," arguing that it is self-contradictory as Harriman defines and uses it in his book.

It is generally taken that since Peikoff's OPAR was sanctioned by Rand that there would be nothing in it with which she would disagree.

OPAR was written after Ayn Rand's death so she could not possibly have sanctioned it. That is why Peikoff wrote

Because of my thirty years of study under her, and by her own statement, I am the person next to Ayn Rand who is the most qualified to write this book. Since she did not live to see it, however, she is not responsible for any misstatements of her views it may contain, nor can the book be properly described as "official Objectivist doctrine."
Refer to Chapter 3 paragraph 2 on "generalization."

That paragraph reads:

For example: if someone were to infer a given man's mortality from the fact that there is a huge funeral industry in every country, this would not be a proper proof. The funeral industry is a consequence of our knowledge of human mortality, not a precondition of such knowledge. The standard Socrates syllogism, by contrast, does validate its conclusion. It derives Socrates' mortality from a truly antecedent generalization (which in turn integrates countless observations of men and of other living organisms).

This says is that a valid deduction via a syllogism requires an valid antecedent generalization which integrates many observations. How is this relevant to the next sentence in the post?:

If a generalization consists of concepts and there are only first-level concepts avaliable (as to a pre-verbal child) then why is it not to be called a first-level generalization?

It doesn't matter what it is called, but I and others contend that what Harriman calls a "first-level generalization" is a package-deal of contradictory attributes that, because it is self-contradictory, is a concept that cannot exist in reality and has no real referents. The examples offered by Harriman of such first-level generalization do not meet his own definition of the concept. (See http://tinyurl.com/29h523j)

Also, yet to be justified is the idea that a child forms and retains any concepts without designating each concept with a word. Although the process may have been performed wordlessly, Ayn Rand has stated explicitly that assigning a word is always necessary to complete the process.

This says is that a valid deduction via a syllogism requires an valid antecedent generalization which integrates many observations.

First, he is simply referring to an invalid generalization via the fallacy of the post hoc propter hoc, and secondly, yes, exactly, and that is why I believe you are missing the core thesis of Peikoff's Theory on Induction now: that it is not "a valid deduction via syllogism requiring a vaild generalization" at all. Such is fallacious. Induction is not another kind of deductive process.

See http://tinyurl.com/29h523j)

"A "first-level generalization" is one derived directly from perceptual observation

That is not what Rand defines as a first-level concept, and therefrom would there be any first-level generalization. Something derived directly from perceptual observation is a percept or somewhat confusingly therein would be contained an (implicit) concept, but it not a concept. There can be so such thing as a generalization directly from perceptual observation -- even if it may seem so to some (as that is a point also made in the book).

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"A "first-level generalization" is one derived directly from perceptual observation

That is not what Rand defines as a first-level concept, and therefrom would there be any first-level generalization. Something derived directly from perceptual observation is a percept or somewhat confusingly therein would be contained an (implicit) concept, but it not a concept. There can be so such thing as a generalization directly from perceptual observation -- even if it may seem so to some (as that is a point also made in the book).

If Cbell meant to write " There can be no such thing as a generalization directly from perceptual observation," I agree. Harriman, on the other hand, writes:

A "first-level generalization" is one derived directly from perceptual observation, without the need of any antecedent generalizations.

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