Franc's " Codifying my secular worldview"
I appreciated Franc’s blog where he outlined his philosophy. What was immediately obvious was where he placed his adherence to materialism in the hierarchy. Franc has shown that he does not start with a naturalistic presupposition. Instead Franc points out an axiomatic concept – that of existence. This concept is being made explicit from the outset just as Rene Descartes attempted to make consciousness his starting point.
Franc is not arbitrarily picking the concept existence at whim. In objectivist fashion Franc’s existence axiom is grounded in a “pre-conceptual” or lower level form of cognition that is the result of an automatic causal process. The existence axiom does not rest upon inference from previous knowledge. It rests upon direct perception and pre-conceptual cognition which is later made an explicit conceptual axiom.
The form in which we perceive things may be relative to the means but not subjective. Also, since the form of perception is pre-conceptual there is no appeal to true or false because this means of cognition is non-propositional. The concepts of truth or falsehood only have meaning in how close our concepts match reality. The perception of existence and identity are matters of discrimination of an object from its background.
If this is true than any form of perception is permissible. Bats use a form of perception called echolocation. This form of perception is similar to a strobe light in a dance club. If a strobe flashes quickly enough it can actually come close to approximating our own visual experience. But no matter what form perception takes there is a pre-conceptual, non-inferential justification that takes place. Existence, Identity and consciousness are all justified implicit axioms (due to their grounding in perception) and later made conceptually explicit via a consciousness equipped to do so.
Those of us who adhere to this type of philosophy do not start with a naturalistic presupposition. Instead the view that there is only nature or matter is a much later concept in the hierarchy of knowledge. This is also why objectivist philosophy does not start by saying that no god exists. Knowledge is a systematic unraveling of sense data and the discrimination of existents from other existents. An objective philosophy sidesteps the naturalist presupposition by grounding knowledge first and then drawing conclusions accordingly.
An objection that can be raised in what I have written above would be that I am presupposing or using the very system described. The point of explaining conceptual axioms and the purpose of the senses is not to argue for them or to show that they are true. The purpose of this argument is to show that they are implicit perceptual axioms and identify their proper role in obtaining knowledge. This is not a “proof." It is a validation that they are the bases of cognition and are utilized by all.