Reason as the Leading Motive

Identity and Causality, contd.

Posted by Jerry on December 15, 2005

Upon thinking further about this issue, I realized that the approach Kant used to describe our experience of reality – or what he called our experience of phenomena – is so opposed to the actual evidence of the senses and the function of our faculty of reason.

Kant took the Platonic premises of ideal forms and argued that having direct experience of those forms is impossible to perception because our consciousness always filters all data through the a priori structures of space and time.
Thus, causality, according to Kant did not exist in the objective reality, per se. The object or its identity did not cause effects and actions, but we observed that phenomenon as causality due to the structure of our consciousness.

The question that one must quite obviously ask then is, how did Kant figure that out? How does he know that it is true? If according to Kant, all a priori concepts like space and time limit our senses from experiencing noumena such that we only can experience and observe phenomena, then in vicious circularity, it might also be the case that Kant’s own theory of metaphysics might be borne out of his misperception of the appearance of reality with the true mechanics of it.

Okay, to clarify in other words: If Kant cannot trust his consciousness to grasp actual reality (noumena) then how can he trust his proposition that he cannot trust his consciousness? – Because after all, even that very proposition has to be grasped and recognized consciously!

This is where Rand comes in with her heavyweight emphasis on the power of reason to grasp reality by integrating the evidence of the senses with a contextual body of knowledge. Rand bases her epistemology on the axiomatic laws of existence, consciousness, and identity. According to the law of identity, then, the entity can only act in consistency with its own nature. Thus, causality is the relationship between an entity’s identity and the nature of its actions. This is why Rand rejected all Kantian concepts of a priorism. Rand argued that since to exist means to exist as something, all activities of the entities arise fundamentally from and in relation to its identities – not as merely appearances to our consciousness.
No wonder Rand believed that Kant’s philosophy was among the most destructive influences in the history of philosophy. Kant created the greatest chasm between our grasp of reality and reality itself.


2 Responses to “Identity and Causality, contd.”

  1. YO! Bro!

    i can’t escape the feeling that we are in agreement on 99% of what has been said; i also can’t escape the feeling that your intense passion and desire for betterment are causing you to unnecessarily nit-pick my language and arguments (does it really matter whether or not i refer to nature as “it” or “she” or “him?”)…

    i read your recommended posts and found myself nodding my head up and down with that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you’re content with another fellow’s exposition…ja’ know whud i mean?


    those things considered; in an effort to briefly modify my point and reach an agreeable conclusion, allow me to nit-pick your language:

    i could consider only one system of morality objective (from my perspective, no doubt, which, by my nature and identity, seeks to converge both extremes):

    that system of morality must be based on freedom, and not human life; human life as the basis for objective morality automatically implies that there will ALWAYS be subjective perceptions of morality;


    when freedom is the basis for morality, it automatically INCLUDES human life as a morally valued thing within’ that system…


    i do believe,

    if we were all to accept the idea of freedom as the basis for all existence, not just morality,

    we would all eventually accept and conform, rather naturally, to an objective system of morality…

    correct me if i’m wrong; but, it seems to me that you, also, are attempting to converge the polarities into one coherent conclusion (i.e. atheism/theism) that allows ALL humans the same basic moral rights—>


    either way, as i alluded to before, i think our conversations will inherently help the both of us to better our arguments and perceptions, and, if we’re lucky, the world as a whole!

    peace out n take care,


    p.s. i linked to your blog on mine; if you have any objections, let me know! : )

  2. Ergo Sum said


    Thank you for your compliments and for your understanding of my position. I appreciate you linking to my site… no problem there.

    I will accept your word when you say that we are almost in full agreement on many things.

    However, I must point out that freedom ontologically cannot be substantiated as the basis for objective morality.

    Human life comes ontologically prior to all other concepts of values and morality. Freedom is a concept of value. All values require a valuer. Hence, you – as a sentient being, must exist first inorder to value freedom. Hence, the most fundamental of all values should be that of the existence of human beings, i.e. human life — because only humans can make consequent assessments of values and morals.

    Using human life as the most fundamental value and as the standard of morality does not imply a subjective construction. Subjectivity comes from the conscious processes of Human beings – not from the fact of their existence.
    Hence, accepting the value of human life is an objective fact… once that is established, we can proceed to identifying a moral code that sustains and furthers that ultimate value — it is at this stage that subjectivism, intrincism, and relativism can creep in.

    Objectivity is in striking the balance between intrincism and subjectivism. The former recognizes the dogma of existents and/or authority (religions, for eg.) and the latter stresses the variations of individual perceivers.
    Objectivism unites the two without any dichotomy.

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