"How We Know"

Chapter Outlines


Chapter 1: Foundational Issues

I. The first axiom: existence

II. The second axiom: consciousness

III. Axioms and axiomatic concepts

IV. Five self-evident facts about consciousness

A. Fact 1. Consciousness involves an object and a subject

B. Fact 2. The Primacy of Existence

C. Fact 3. Consciousness is an active process

D. Fact 4. Consciousness is not reducible to matter

E. Fact 5. Consciousness has causal efficacy

V. The validity of introspection

VI. The biological nature of consciousness

Chapter 2: Perception

I. Introduction: what’s at stake

II. Perception’s function is to guide life-sustaining action

III. Sensation vs. perception

IV. Perception vs. conception

A. Why the senses can’t err: perception as the given

V. The final definition of perception

VI. Three general conceptions of consciousness

A. Consciousness as identification

B. Naive Realism: consciousness as reproduction

C. The subjectivist reaction: Representationalism (consciousness as self-consciousness)

VII. The Primacy of perception

Chapter 3: Concept-formation

I. Introduction: man as the conceptual animal

II. The “problem of universals”

III. The Realist theory

IV. The failure of Realism

V. The Nominalist pseudo-theory

VI. The Objectivist theory

A. Integration

B. Unit-economy

VII. Conclusion

Chapter 4: Abstraction from Abstraction

I. Introduction: the power of higher-level concepts

II. The formation of higher-level concepts

III. Conceptual hierarchy

IV. Concepts of characteristics

V. Concepts of consciousness

VI. Axiomatic concepts

Chapter 5: Norms for Cognition

I. Concepts as integrating across time

II. Choice and integration

III. Logic

A. Logic and the identity of consciousness

B. The nature of definitions

C. Rand’s Razor

IV. Objective vs. intrinsic and subjective

A. The meaning of “objective”

B. The trichotomy in the history of thought

C. Conclusion

Chapter 6: Conceptual Knowledge

I. Concepts and propositions

II. Descriptive propositions

III. How concepts store knowledge

IV. What knowledge is

V. Using logic in the application of concepts

VI. Validation

VII. Certainty

VIII. The Arbitrary

IX. Pseudo-propositions

X. Summary Overview

A. Concepts and percepts

B. The source of conceptual knowledge

Chapter 7: Fundamentality

I. What fundamentality is

II. What identifying fundamentals accomplishes for us

III. Principles as fundamental generalizations

IV. The need for principles

A. Principles as cognitive bridges

B. Principles as simplifiers

V. Principles as contextual

VI. Principles as absolute.

VII. Pragmatism vs. principles

A. What Pragmatism is

B. A concretization: Pragmatism vs. individual rights

Chapter 8: Free Will

I. The fundamental choice: to focus or not

A. Levels of conceptual awareness

B. Focus vs. its alternatives: drift and evasion

C. More advanced “chewing” of focus

D. Focus and thinking

E. Focus in relation to its object

F. Primary choice vs. subchoices

II. Focus and “psycho-epistemology”

A. The managerial metaphor

B. An extended concretization

III. Meta-level issues about this theory

A. Free will vs. determinism

B. Focus as volitional and “the problem of agency”

C. Causality and volition

D. Validation of the theory

E. Volition as axiomatic

F. Free will and social environment.

G. Focus and the Ego