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North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Epistemology #6: "Existent" Undergoes Three Stages of Development

Epistemology #6: "Existent" Undergoes Three Stages of Development in Man's Mind

Old T.
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
The (implicit) concept "existent" undergoes three stages of development in man's mind. The first stage is a child's awareness of objects, of things—which represents the (implicit) concept "entity." The second and closely allied stage is the awareness of specific, particular things which he can recognize and distinguish from the rest of his perceptual field—which represents the (implicit) concept "identity."

The third stage consists of grasping relationships among these entities by grasping the similarities and differences of their identities. This requires the transformation of the (implicit) concept "entity" into the (implicit) concept "unit."

When a child observes that two objects (which he will later learn to designate as "tables") resemble each other, but are different from four other objects ("chairs"), his mind is focusing on a particular attribute of the objects (their shape), then isolating them according to their differences, and integrating them as units into separate groups according to their similarities.

This is the key, the entrance to the conceptual level of man's consciousness. The ability to regard entities as units is man's distinctive method of cognition, which other living species are unable to follow.

—Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 1. Cognition and Measurement
A former member
Post #: 51
Ooh, this really helped me with what we were talking about on Saturday (validating the law of identity). Thanks for posting!
Old T.
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 1,004
Ooh, this really helped me with what we were talking about on Saturday (validating the law of identity). Thanks for posting!


You are welcome, Josh.
It was a coincidence that this post related to your question on Saturday. I am glad you found this quote from Ayn Rand helpful.
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