Glossary E

 
egoist:  fully conscious ego with a strong sense of  a rational "I". "Fully conscious" means a consciousness dedicated to acceptance of whatever one discovers to be truth, with no desire to "turn a blind eye" or to be subjective, relativist, determinist, or anything but as objective as one's ability allows. See also ethics: ethical and rational.
 
Enlightenment (vs. enlightenment) [Note: this is a descriptive analysis only, not meant to be taken as definitive. Please see other reference works for a definition or a better working model. This is basically a space-filler, but it is essentially correct in its assumptions.]
 
Enlightenment with a lower case "e" is not the same as "Enlightenment." With an "e" it is supernaturalism, the desire to gain wisdom through spiritualism. This has nothing to do with philosophy, except with the logic that supernatural spiritualism is possible, and the metaphysics that it exists.

This kind of enlightenment is random, unreliable, and a waste of time if you plan to sit around and wait "to become" enlightened.

Mohandas Ghandi is believed by the ignorant (no perjorative meant; I mean literal ignorance) to be "enlightened," but the truth is he was an extremely educated man who applied his education to his beliefs; or maybe he applied his beliefs to his education. If this is what you mean, then we are not talking "supernatural spiritualism" at all; we are talking about Enlightenment. Ghandi was Enlightened.

The last generation of human who were of the Enlightenment were America's Founding Fathers. Certainly there have been Enlightened men and women since then, but as an entire generation, they were the last.

So you know what Enlightenment did; it helped humanity by asserting the rights of men; by upholding justice, dignity, and individual sovereignty. It established modern science, and re-established Naturalism, relegating religious doctrine to its former place as the skeptical position of Naturalism. (That piece of history goes all the way back to St. Augustine, so you can see how much history the Enlightenment is responsible for having reversed.)

The loss of Enlightenment through the 20 or so decades since America's founding has led to the reversal--again--of the rise of Augustinian metaphysics and logic. It is what is wrong with out world today.

Perhaps Augustine was somehow enlightened; but he was certainly not Enlightened.
 
essence: Essence is the human-derived definition of what we think is the metaphysical meaning of a given substance. For example, Aristotle defined the essence of "man" as "rational animal," while Plato defined man as "featherless, upright biped." That makes ardipithecus a human, so Plato was wrong. But as Hume said, "Brutes abstract not." Brutes are any animal that is not human, and since they don't "abstract", they are not "reasoning". So Aristotle got the essence of "man" correct in the context of "reason" being that man has it as a mental function, not in the sense that he always uses that function.

An essence is the reduction of predicates to their common conceptual denominator. "X is one or more of the things which it is." So one or more of the things which man is, is "featherless, upright biped." But that is not the reduction to the common conceptual denominator. Since ardipithecus fits that description, we must reduce the metaphysical predicate concepts more. Eventually, after enough reductions, you get "rational animal."
 
Essence precedes existence, or, does existence precede essence?
A conundrum exists in this commonly asked question, to wit: that actually that both statements are false. Here is the existential and metaphysical correspondence between "existence" and "essence":

"Existence and identity [i.e., essence] are not attributes of existents, they are the existents . . . . The units of the concepts 'existence' and 'identity' are every entity, attribute, action, event or phenomenon (including consciousness) that exists, has ever existed or will ever exist." Ayn Rand  http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/existe…

Neither one can "precede" the other, because existence without essence and essence without existence are each contradictions of the definitions of the words themselves. Essences exist; and existence has essence, and both must exist at the same time.


ethics: Ethics is the "science of moral values". Ayn Rand

If it was as generalized as relativists and others make it, you wouldn't need to study it, and industries and corporations wouldn't need to hire ethicists. The Hippocratic Oath and the Presidential Oath and the oath taken by naturalized citizens and the one taken by people joining the military are statements of ethics.


The Geneva Convention is a statement of military ethics in combat.

The AMA has a Code of Ethics http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physicia…
So do Principle Financial Officers http://www.sra.com/investors/corporate-g…

If it wasn't study-able as more than something "descriptive",
if it had no "normative" standards by which to judge our behavior, such "codes" COULD NOT exist.

experience: "Experience" is, firstly, "perception"; secondly, it is the rational induction that the perception is "of something." Perception is the end result of sensory inputs to the brain, where they end, at which point in time consciousness "perceives" the result. Perception is the reasoned recognition that "something exists" as demonstrated by empirical sensory inputs to the brain.

This is proved by one type of blindness, in which the eyes are healthy, the nerves to the brain is healthy, and the brain is healthy at the point where the sensory input ends. But there is no perception of the experience. The function of the brain that turns the sensory input in perception is not working.

To have no perception is to have no "experience". Helen Keller had no "experiences" of sight or sound after her illness.

That is empirical knowledge, but it requires the assistance of rationality to decipher it.

The first step in rationally deciphering "experience" or "perception" is to identify it. Just touching a tree for the first time doesn't tell you it is a tree. It takes reason to do that. Reason doesn't work without empiricism; empiricism is nothing without reason.

The first step in reason is an induction: "Something exists." Why is that an induction? Because it is abstracted from the sensory input, from the empirical experience.

The next step in reason is to compare that induction with other inductions. "What exists feels like that thing that I discovered existing yesterday." If these were the first two instances of this experience, the next step might be to give the existant object a name.

"A word is merely a visual-auditory symbol used to represent a concept; a word has no meaning other than that of the concept it symbolizes, and the meaning of a concept consists of its units. It is not words, but concepts that man defines—by specifying their referents." Rand

So we create concepts from abstract inductions. This is why Aristotle's idea that universals or essences were "in the things". They are not. Modern cognitive science has demonstrated that universals are purely conceptual.

But we cannot create abstract inductions from nothing: A consciousness with nothing to be conscious of contradicts the referents contained in the definition of "consciousness". What is a consciousness conscious of? Empirical existence, first; its own abstractions and concepts, second.

Without both reason and empirical sensations, we can "know" nothing at all, not even that "something exists", because that is the recognition that we are conscious of "something". The recognition that "something exists" is solely created by the power of reason.

existentialism:
1) existence exists independently of consciousness
2) a) their ultimate metaphysical views often diverge radically because they believe the universe is unfathomable http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entr…
2) b) but also "that the individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely,[7][8] in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, alienation, and boredom.[9]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential…

Where the Romantic philosophy seeks to see man as heroic, as capable of greatness, and of not needing to dwell on the "despair, angst, absurdity, alienation, and boredom", they are in that sense opposed. But they are identical in the sense that they know existence to be absolute.