Glossary S

sapient: noun. the ability of an organism or entity to act with appropriate judgment; possessing discernment; [sapience: adj.] Sapience is often confused with sentience, which is the capacity to gain knowledge of the world in which an organism or animal lives through the use of the senses.

: that psychological entity of consciousness that corresponds to the nomenclature "ego". "Ego" is "self" identified consciously, unconsciously, or sub-consciously, as one's own individual existence. A psychologically healthy ego is that part of consciousness that accepts "self esteem" as the reward of rational thoughts and actions. A psychologically unhealthy ego is one that seeks to exert its existence over the existence of other egos, or that seeks to have the existence of other egos exerted over itself. The first condition is traditionally, though wrongly, identified as "selfishness" while the second is traditionally and correctly identified as "selfless-ness" except when such acts are seen as altruistic. Altruism, however, is the most complete form of selfless-ness according to Comte. [see Altruism]
self awareness: In man, it is knowledge of the content of one's own consciousness, including that one is conscious to be begin with. It may be expressed as "I exist!" There is no awareness that we know of in lower species of a continuous process of self awareness that could be expresses as "I exist!", but some creatures have been shown to know their own faces when looking in mirrors. It is the continuous process of being able to identify the content of one's own consciousness as belonging to one's own consciousness that constitutes self awareness in homo sapiens.
    development of:
Begin with a tabula rasa mind at birth. Then accept the premise "Nihil est in intellectu quod non prius fuerit in sensu: (Lat.) Nothing is in the intellect which was not first in sense. All the materials, or content, of higher, intellectual cognition are derived from the activity of lower, sense cognition."

This premise has come to us from Aristotle, if not from earlier pre-Socratics, all the way up to the present day, where the Montessori Schools are built on the premise.

It is also the basis for the Objectivist epistemology. "Epistemologically, it is the recognition of the fact that a perceiver’s (man’s) consciousness must acquire knowledge of reality by certain means (reason) in accordance with certain rules (logic)."…

Primitive life, such as plants and amoeba cannot be said to be "self" aware. They are biologically, existentially, aware of only what they need, such as light, water, oxygen or carbon dioxide. But of themselves they have no knowledge.

Higher forms of life (animal) have a self-awareness that does not lead to an epistemological linkage of one thought to another, as with humans. It sometimes happens, as when a dog goes to get help for its master who broke his leg, or with a mother who recognized her own progeny (until nature tells them to forget. We see animals act all the time as if they don't recognize each other, after the period when nature sends the offspring to fend for themselves. There are exceptions, as with elephants.)

But this lack of epistemological linkage, the great naturalist Loren Eiseley (The Immense Journey) said animals are in an "eternal present", by which he meant they can't link the events of last year to the events of next year, let alone link many things closer in time. This means they can't process abstractions beyond the point of immediacy, beyond inductions; beyond that would be deductions and conceptual knowledge, which is what human pass on to their progeny and to other generations. Ayn Rand called this phenomenon of the animal mind "range-of-the-moment consciousness", meaning that when the event, the "range of the moment", was over, that the animal gave it no more epistemological examination. It ends when it ends.

Animals do have some self-awareness, but it isn't epistemological. They are aware that they love, that they must groom themselves, etc. But only a small handful of animals has been proved to be able to recognize themselves in a mirror. (Elephants can do this.) And yet even those more cognitively-evolved animals cannot pass conceptual knowledge.

That capability alone belongs to humans.

selfish: any action caused by the psychological entity "ego." "Selfishness" is often called either "egotism" or "egoism." However, it can be shown that "egotism" is not selfish at all, but self-less. "Egoism" when defined as Freud's  rational executive [below] contrasts with "egotism" when defined as an irrational executive. "The ego is the conscious self created by the dynamic tensions and interactions between the id and the super-ego...All objects of consciousness reside in the ego..." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy 

"In the well-adjusted person the ego is the executive of the personality, controlling and governing the id and the superego and maintaining commerce with eh external world in the interest of the total personality and its far-flung needs. When the ego is performing its executive functions wisely, harmony and adjustment prevail." A Primer of Freudian Psychology Calvin S. Hall
This "wisely functioning executive" has self-esteem in "harmony and adjustment" with the "dynamic tensions and interactions" of its emotional (id) and unconscious (super-ego) elements. "Self-esteem [is a man's] inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living." [For the New Intellectual Ayn Rand] This "inviolate certainty" is only possible when the ego is functioning as a rational entity of consciousness. "Self-less" is the concept that one's self is not functioning rationally, leaving one without a "rational executive." Only a rational executive can be called the "self" in its inviolate certainty of self-worth. An ego devoid of self-worth is self-less to the extent that it is devoid of self-worth; the more devoid, the more self-less; the more self-less, the more egotistical; the more certain of its self-worth, the more egoistic.
This description is metaphysical and therefore doctrinal. No science can prove or disprove such metaphysics, but metaphysics can make such doctrinal assumptions based on science. "Egoism has two variants, descriptive or normative. The descriptive (or positive) variant conceives egoism as a factual description of human affairs. That is, people are motivated by their own interests and desires, and they cannot be described otherwise. The normative variant proposes that people should be so motivated, regardless of what presently motivates their behavior." [see IEP link above]
Thus, "what presently motivates" one's behavior is either inviolate certainty of the competency of one's ego to be the executive that acts rationally on behalf of the self; or to the degree that it is not certain of its competency it is "self-less."
Selfishness is often misconstrued to inherently include acts against others which deny those others their natural rights. We are given the image of a man willing to walk over his mother's grave, as an example. This misconstrual is often based on the Fallacy of the Stolen Concept. [see] In this fallacy, the root meaning of self as that which corresponds to "knowledge of one's own individual self existence" [see Self] is denied, replaced by the concept of an individual who has little or nor regard for the existence of others; however, one cannot deny other's their individuality without acknowledging it in one's self even if only sub-consciously. To deny other's their natural individuality without conscious knowledge of doing so cannot be called "selfish" in the traditional sense since it would require someone to have awareness of  having little or no regard for the welfare and rights of others.

skepticism: epistemological acceptance of the fallacy of the prior certainty of consciousness. This fallacy is self-acceptance of one's consciousness while at the same time rejecting the entities of existence that are the subject of said consciousness; presumption of the inability of consciousness to know of any subject other than what is "representative" within the mind of an existence that is external to it. This creates the predicament of explaining how such "representations" have come to be in consciousness, and why perceptions are not the beginning of conscious awareness.


sharia: in compliance with shariah law. The tenets of shariah Islamic law include permission for forced child marriages, the beating of disobedient women, death sentences for Muslims who chose to convert away from shariah Islam, beheadings of the disobedient, including infidels (non-Muslims), and the obligation to wage offensive military Jihad against non-Muslims.
sharia-compliant finance; see takaful