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  1. Today
  2. Welcome back, Ilya It's always refreshing to view your multi-faceted concise and to-the-point interlocutions.
  3. As can be seen with an old popular thread I started on Objectivism online forum, I am very interested in putting side-to-side various philosophies, even before I learn that some of them cannot be thoroughly compared! So I would like to find out whether it is even possible to conceive of transcending Rand’s worldview with that of her well-known ‘archenemy’ – Immanuel Kant himself. I’ve spent the last two years trying to figure out this big conflict in contemporary philosophy by studying Kant’s philosophy and debating Kantians, especially on Philosophy forums, which are now, unfortunately, non-operational. So what are some ideas that I’d like to put forward to initiate this discussion? Part I: Describing conflicts First, I want to delineate the premises of my argument as conflicting characters of both philosophies. Let Objectivism take only (a) subdivisions, while Kantianism take only (b) subdivisions. General vs. specific Objectivism is general in respect to being broadly applied to most areas of life, including even sex (in Rand’s words!). Philosophy, according to Rand, is a way of living, rather than only a way of thinking (which is a part of living but not the whole). Hence Rand is more concerned with having an integrated picture of the whole rather than only its parts in isolation or abstraction. Rand’s epistemology starts with metaphysics (most broad or general field of philosophy). Kantianism is specific in respect to being narrowly applied only to thoughts concerning positive knowledge in theoretical science, moral/ethical practice, and judgments in art. Kantian way of thinking takes ideas in isolation and abstraction and only bounded by mind, representing all areas of knowledge within mental structures and through categories of thought. Kant’s epistemology cycles through itself, making metaphysics subservient to it without a possibility of deriving any knowledge about ends. External vs. internal Objectivism is concerned with external experience of reality, where it finds knowledge. Every judgment must correspond to or be ultimately derived from external reality. Kantianism is concerned with internal experience, wherein it claims to find all positive knowledge. Everything considered to be ‘external’ to mind is merely thought to be a representation or appearance structured by our mind as pure reason or inwardly directed by mind as practical reason with aesthetic judgments connecting the two reasons. Public vs. academic Objectivism is well known in general public by means of popular novels, podcasts, presentations, and audiobooks, but not among many academicians, who openly oppose it or try to avoid it. Formal discussions of Objectivism mostly occur in Objectivist journals, and Objectivist scholars do not take these discussions to established and trustworthy academic philosophical journals. Hence the nature of Objectivist discussions and research is mostly closed rather than open, in regard to academic work. Kantianism is popular among many academicians but not in general public. Kantianism is considered by many academicians to be a ‘suble’ and ‘true’ philosophy not comprehended quite enough by most others. Objective vs. subjective Objectivism follows the ethics of rational or objective egoism to the detriment of sometimes being able to develop healthy relationships with others. Objects in this philosophy precede private subjects. Kantianism follows the ethics of rational yet subjective altruism to the point of forcing others (even violently) to heed one’s ‘social’ will (especially of those in power) as if it were universal law. Peikoff describes Kantian influences on Nazism in The Ominous Parallels, and Kant himself praises the sublime in war over peace in Critique of Judgment, §28. Thus, subjects in this philosophy are not only central but the only ones, as physical objects in themselves are non-existent. Political vs. scientific Objectivism has greatly influenced the progress of politics and economics through conservatives, neoconservatives, libertarians, and even some liberals. However, Objectivism hasn’t had much effect on science. Kantianism has greatly influenced the progress of science through Bohr’s Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, Chomsky’s universal grammar theory, and various neuro and cognitive scientists, anthropologists, and psychologists. However, Kantianism hasn’t had as much direct effect in politics. Part II: Transcending conflicts Second, as a possible way to transcend these areas as it would mostly benefit Objectivism (like a stronger connection to academia in 3), I need to provide a potential idea to be built upon. My current and main source of inspiration is Leonard Peikoff’s DIM Hypothesis (2012), which is based on Rand’s epistemology, in particular her theory of concepts. What Peikoff develops in his book called after his hypothesis is a metaphilosophy (although he doesn’t call it that) specifying boundaries of all philosophies involving three categories: disintegrating, integrating, and misintegrating. As a point of contention, these are Peikoff’s words that I reinterpreted in favor of my own hypothesis: I’ve been building on some concepts from Peikoff’s hypothesis this past couple of years and have found another way (a visual method) to describe all philosophies, while also borrowing some of these terms from Peikoff. Based on my extensive research, I would like to show not only that I independently verified some insights from Peikoff’s hypothesis (as I also did a few years back for Rand’s theory) but also describe what he had achieved (and he considers this book his greatest achievement so far) as an understanding of Rand’s epistemology not as an epistemology in academic sense (which they don’t accept as such) but a meta-epistemology that transcends epistemology as conceived by Kant. If Rand’s epistemology be truly a meta-epistemology and Peikoff’s hypothesis be truly metaphilosophical, then we can use these areas to transcend Kant’s ‘transcendental’ philosophy without losing specificity required (as in 1). As far as I know, Kant never covered these areas in his philosophy. Considering that there also exists a term ‘metametaphysics’ (books on the topic: 2009, 2015, and 2016; cf. my metaphysics), maybe this so-called ‘transcendence’ can also achieve greater breadth than Rand was able to conceive, although, as speculative as all this may sound, there is currently not enough understanding of these new ‘meta’ (meaning not just ‘after’ but ‘beyond’) fields because they are on the frontier of contemporary philosophical research. Maybe we can share knowledge and understanding to see whether any of my suggestions have ground for further developments. At the end, if we reach any conclusion, we may find and improve upon the missing links required for Objectivism to hold the center stage it deserves in philosophical discussions.
  4. I strongly disagree. Religion is as different from mysticism as passivity from activity. True mystics were active individuals even to the point of being radical. Here is a list of mystics whom you could contrast to any religious idealist to date: Machiventa Melchizedek (1980 BC), Elijah (c. 900 BC), Laozi (605 BC), John the Baptist (c. 5 BC), Jesus Christ (7 BC), John the Apostle (6 AD), Hildegard von Bingen (1098), Helena Blavatsky (1831), Drunvalo Melchizedek (1941), Karen “Mila” Danrich (1960). There are more, but this should be enough to give you a comprehensive picture of genuine historical mysticism. Now, if you agree with (a Kantian?) Bertrand Russell who confused idealism with mysticism by claiming that Plato was a 'mystic' - then this is a question of your DIS, which evidently opposes true mysticism by giving its face (thus defacing, or concealing, it) to those it can easily reduce and disassemble into fragmentary pieces. In my book, what DISes do best is deceive, and it is much worse for atheists in this tradition than non-atheists, like Kant. Yet they standardize Kant in academia to justify their deceptions. Satan rather loves those who don't believe in him because that means there could come a time they would believe in him as god. And many have been so deceived. And this is one of Rand's mistakes (misintegrations). True materialism opposes true mysticism (which opposes true idealism). Does my statement need defense or explanation? This is as false as the above. True mysticism doesn't oppose reason, as Aristotle and Newton opposed neither reason nor mysticism. In fact, mysticism is what integrates heart (soul) and brain (mind), but both Kant and Rand fail at grasping this, which means they have something they share. How ironic that you bring up Russell, who seems to be in the Kantian tradition as his bridging the gap between logic and mathematics provided the ground for understanding the analytic a priori like Rudolf Carnap after him. If you are confused about mysticism, it's better not to create and than attack a straw man, but ask an actual mystic, like me. I know mysticism because I belong to their tradition. Do you have questions? All bullshit, sorry for my French. Only idealists and materialists can say this. By the way, idealists and materialists can perfectly complement each other (contrary to what Marxists believe) because they ultimately have the same end (Nonexistence). In contrast to idealists and materialists, the end of mystics is Existence. If you learn to think directionally (rather than only positionally, which is a fault that promulgates such false ideas about other philosophies) you would understand this. Otherwise, I am sorry, but you cannot be helped. This is true in the strictest sense of idealism there can be, as I've proved again and again during the last three years with my Diagram, but you would rather disintegrate or ignore it, right? That's what most of the academic kind like to do. Because facts contradict their petty beliefs, and they would rather have their beliefs than facts. Actually, I agree that idealism is directed toward mysticism (or spiritualism, as you put it). However, here we are differentiating position and direction. There is also idealism that is directed toward materialism, like Stalin's (except to Marxism only) or even Rand's. So instead of putting the direction into position, like you seem to be doing, try thinking of direction as dependent on position but not internal to it. The latter method works much better for differentiating various philosophies more accurately. That's what Aquinas said! Bah, this mixing of MIS and INT is no better than what Russell did. Oh yeah, and you should thank him for inspiring Kant with this and with much more (the mechanics?). So Berkley viewed not matter but his ideas of matter, which is the kind of appearances that idealists promote. In contrast to Berkley, Kant views actual matter as appearances that we can only understand through reason, like in Democritus as well. That's the main difference between idealists and materialists: idealists only view appearances that they believe in, and materialists only view appearances that they know exist. The key here that connects the two is appearances; that both look only on the surface and never at the whole as it is. Neither is concerned with actual, honest truth. Kant's evaluation of Berkeley is the same as Russell's evaluation of Plato, and Rand's evaluation of Hegel is spot on. Even Marxists know Hegel as a mystical idealist, different from all preceding idealists. There you go. In one statement you've shown two things: that Kant was a materialist in the tradition of Democritus, and that Berkley was an idealist in the tradition of Plato. You only need to look deeper into your own statement and think it through. Except in Kant that outer sense is also inner, as all 'beyond' mind representations are included 'within' mind. I call this inversive reductionism. Outside is what appears inside for Democritean materialists, since brain is also matter, did you know? Yeah, some highfalutin terms here, eh? People like coming up with terms, so we let them. In truth, not all terms mean what they intend to mean. Sometimes they are used to change perspective, sometimes to hide a perspective. For example, you can try changing frames for rhetorical purposes by calling taxation a burden and saying tax relief in order to change a liberal's perspective on taxes and persuade them to follow your point of view. Or you could call materialism transcendental idealism in order to change perspective on it for idealists. This way, you know you can have idealists accept your point of view and think it to be quite unique and even revolutionary! Oh, this is interesting because that's how I think of metaphysical Time and Space. Although physical ones would be the same if not taken to absolutes. That's how Kant seems to make what's beyond or outer to mind as internal: by calling space an a priori form of intuition. He has a discussion of this in Crit#3 on making macro a micro and vice versa by giving scientific analogies of the functional faculties of microscopes and telescopes (I would make here an analogy to theoretical and practical reasons). If this is so, then Bacon also followed Aristotle, since Locke followed Bacon. Most Kantians would disagree, referring to Bacon's criticisms of Aristotle, but I agree wholeheartedly. Go Kant! Yeah, and they say that Leibniz attempted to 'integrate' Plato (MIS) with Democritus (DIS). Seeing how highly Kant (DIS) spoke of Leibniz, I now think it must have been true. Leibniz's DIS part, just as that of Descartes, must have been a very noticeable appendage for Kant. Yes, and this is also called the Kantian dare to know! This kind of knowledge is reflected in destroying one's objects of sensation in order to 'know' them. Unfortunately, don't you think? Especially considering that we learn about particles by destroying them. In Kant, there was also a passage about receiving a conception of an eye when cutting the eye open (Remark I to §57 in Crit#3). You may extend the analogy. Perhaps transhumanists (also mostly Kantians) need to cut open living people in order to understand them and use this understanding in making them into robots in order to make us happy! Dare to kill! would be a better maxim for those Kantians who feel like the boundaries of knowledge are not so prohibitive anymore. Wow. And this is told about the man who basically started philosophy as we know it by the man who followed in the footsteps of Democritus. And you still squinge at my comparison without thinking what Plato would have done if he knew that philosophy would come to this end? Oh yeah, intuition? Is that schematic or symbolic, a la Kant? So you know, intuition can never be intellectualized so, especially not through math and geometry like Plato did. Intuition is better known by mystics, who feel with their hearts before they think with their minds. And let me tell you: mystics use math like Newton did -- that's to describe reality -- and not like Plato did -- to try to force reality to follow mental laws. Don't bullshit me about intuition no more. One thing I want to stress: Plato's level of position was metacosmic, while Kant's was metaphysical brain (really, just brain with metaphysical categories in it, like principles and parameters in a Chomskyan universal grammar module). Not 'purely' in the Kantian sense, but otherwise false. See his descriptions of intuition in §59 of Crit#3. Kant's philosophy surely is. And in academia nowadays this is the only kind that is respected. This is what those who are in power want from us. But reason can fathom a priori 's, which were before childhood? No contradiction here? Kant's philosophy is a joke. Only his theology has any value. Oh boy, why should I listen to Kant here? Aren't both 'faculties' just different ways our mind is used? I would rather connect science with ethics in my mind than separate them like Kant did. Otherwise, we have scientists who cause much suffering in the world. Just consider Richard Feynman and the atomic bomb. He obviously couldn't combine his two 'faculties' because he was an atheist, so there was nothing from the 'practical' side to connect, other than to nothing. I guess this goes along with his keeping sense and intellect separate. Yes, thus they both opposed heart, wherefrom happiness springs forth. Yeah, they have to complicate happiness and distance themselves from it to the point of happiness becoming so heavy as to be undecipherable. In truth, one grasps happiness only when one feels it (through the heart) and not when one merely reasons through it (through the brain). Therefore, happiness is quite a simple matter and doesn't really have to be discussed by philosophers who maybe have something better to do (or maybe not, and thus they discuss it, wasting our time). Yeah, but such people love to use Kant to justify their actions against humanity to a great extent (end too). Without Kant, they wouldn't have had such a wonderful scapegoat! Kant seems to know minds better than people, thus allowing people who, he thinks, don't know their minds as well or well enough be forced to follow minds in power who know what the minds subservient to duty need to practice. I think supramental information, as the judgments of minds other than your own, is the death of philosophy. Thus, if taking Kant for who he was, we should leave his reasoning for his own mind and not attach anyone else's to it. At least then we could survive and not suffocate to death from such a philosophy. Yes, true, feeling and also sense. Thank you for the essay, Boydstun. It was very well written and researched. I particularly liked your conclusion and that Rand's ethics, as based on individual rather than mind alone, is a better choice.
  5. EPIST Just to follow up: Take the example of whether or not the taste of "chocolate" is pleasurable to John. Prior to John's ever having tasted chocolate the statement: "John finds the taste of chocolate pleasurable." Is false, because he cannot find the taste of something which he has not tasted to have any quality or character whereas the statement: "John will find the taste of chocolate pleasurable." might be true, depending upon the nature of John, his brain, his taste-buds etc... the facts of which are currently not accessible to testing by modern science. The reason the above obtains is because the question regarding whether John finds the taste of something pleasurable requires that he taste it, whereas the question of whether or not John would find it pleasurable is in the form of a hypothetical, i.e. it attempts to answer whether he would find the taste pleasurable IF he tasted it. Similarly, consider whether or not a movie, a locket from a lost love, or anything in particular has meaning to Kevin. Prior to Kevin's experiencing the movie or receiving the locket, or experiencing the "anything", the statement (substituting X for any of these) : "Kevin finds X has meaning for him." Is false because the requirements for Kevin finding meaning in something have not been met. Consider also the possibility that Kevin would also have to think about, ponder, or contemplate the movie or the locket prior to the possibility of his finding it to have meaning for him. Then even if Kevin saw the movie or received the locket, but prior to thinking about it, maybe he does not have the time, he is not very introspective etc. these might not have meaning for him. Consider now the following question: "Kevin will (or would) find X to be meaningful when (or if) he reflects upon it." This statement CAN be true, depending upon Kevin and what in him determines what he finds meaning in. The above might be perfectly obvious, but I thought I should clarify the difference between actually finding meaning in something and what we can call the potential to find meaning in something.
  6. I like to use the phrase "Good job. You should be proud of yourself!"
  7. If there is a something which is literally meaningless to everyone, i.e. if everyone looked at it and carefully thought about it, and it meant nothing to them, to whom or what could that something possibly be "meaningful", and in what way could that something be "meaningful"? Now, people can err, and forget things, ignore things, and perhaps not be aware consciously that something is meaningful for them, or perhaps they never really thought about it. Such is a case where the something IS meaningful to that person, but it requires their focus or turning their mind to it in order to recognize it first. It is difficult to see how the concept of an "objective meaning" which is not known does not become entangled with mystical or intrinsicist notions. Can you give examples of something with objective meaning which is not known?
  8. To understand Kant, one needs to put him in context with other philosophers, like you did. I have to read up on Euclid, Wolff, and Reid in order to evaluate your context for Kant. In my own opinion, Hume and Descartes had the greatest influence on him, but his philosophy belongs to neither tradition, as my Diagram shows. Instead, his philosophy has been unknown for over 2000 years, throughout which all works of Democritus have been lost. By his 'philosophy,' of course, I do not mean his theology, which is, perhaps, what made his (non-)idealism be called transcendental. His prediction is like the predictions of global warming (and I also believe that, philosophically, our history goes in cycles). In truth, Peikoff is as optimistic about Objectivism and Objectivist politics as Ayn Rand ever was, and this means Peikoff is still an optimist. You might ask this of him yourself, and I predict that his answer will be affirmative. You only need to hurry because Peikoff is pretty old, and it would be worse to perpetuate such false claims about him after he would have passed away. Nicky's reply has been spot on. His 'pissing into the wind,' as you call it, is following Objectivism in opposition to mis (conservatives like Trump) and dis (liberals, like Hillary?--Hillary is an amoeba whose philosophy I don't pretend to understand). Maybe you are seeing your own pessimism in Peikoff? I allow that Peikoff has a pessimistic underbelly, but his optimism is the prevalent crown. dream_weaver's reply is excellent: Peikoff shows what majority believes (and enacts in reality), but the minority -- like Objectivists -- are certainly the better path on which the enlightened few need to continue (intellectually, rhetorically) fighting to prevail even after 'probable' setbacks and even while minority itself is seemingly fractured by interpretations of Peikoff's genius hypothesis. Like I've implied above, Peikoff's 'predictions' are not as important as his contextualizations of the most important and archetypal philosophies. That, as far as I know, has never been done before to such an extent. You seem to be cutting off Peikoff's overarching vision by reducing it to your own blind fight. Peikoff is certainly close to Hegel in his evaluations (e.g., of Kant) and idealizations of their own philosophies, but Peikoff very clearly presents his evaluations with the major implication of Objectivism being 'the better path' (in dream_weaver's words), even though he is not so explicit about this in this book. Rhetorically, though, it's a brilliant move, since the obvious absence formidably invites attention and pulls at our focus. Actually, your criticism is not correct. Peikoff is totally right in evaluating Einstein as a MIS (Platonic idealist in my book, connected through Berkeley -- also thanks to Leibniz -- to Plato). The reason Einstein is a MIS is that he idealized ('beautified' and overgeneralized--like Harriman is trying to do now with his physics/philosophy applied to other MIS like Copernicus and Kepler) only an interpretation or a specific instance of Lorentz's transformation, whose mathematics is so extensive that it allows space for an aetheric (Newtonian) physics, which Lorentz himself supported but for which couldn't make a case. However, the case for this kind of INT physics could be attributed to an ignored genius physicist by the name of Hannes Alfvén, who, like Lorentz before him, was discarded in favor of another Einstein: a popular Einstenian and bigbanger darling -- Hawking. Now, however, all this is ancient history. The physics debate progresses on the quantum level, such as Copenhagen vs. quantum decoherence and consistent histories and string many-worlds interpretations. In contrast to what many of you believe, philosophical debates are indeed currently taking place in contemporary physics, but Rand and Peikoff would never understand them because of being restricted to an obsolete, classical view of atomic structure. This is indeed very interesting and salient. While considering that I take all materialists as DIS and all idealists as MIS, you may find that the whole traditions of non-atheistic materialists and atheistic idealists had started with Kant. Kudos to Kant, wouldn't you say? You may also now thank him for confusing the hell out of idealists. (Poor Rand, she had no idea what she got herself into, but at least her intense hate for Kant opens her up to deep criticism.) God, indeed I hope not. At least Gorgias understood (while most reduce his understanding to mere sophistry) that nothing exists everywhere and nowhere at the same time because that is the 'nature' of nothing. Kant, on the other hand, wrote that nothing can be proved about the existence of Noumenon, which logically means one and only one thing: Noumenon doesn't exist physically for the sole reason of it being Nonexistence (I swapped the terms, but essentially you get the same thing). Hence Peikoff was right in his criticisms of Kant, as Kant opposed things for having the nature of things, i.e. being those things. Kant's 'nature' (which he swaps for 'matter') is only found through mental categories, which leads, on the inward path through the metaphysical brain/mind to his highly cherished Nonexistence (yes, it is found inside mind; and yes, that's how his theoretical and practical reasons connect, see Crit#3). To a point, I agree with Kant, but only to a point -- I think his subjective theology is (and was) revolutionary. Mostly, what Peikoff misunderstands about him is Peikoff's own psychological inadequacies projected on Kant. Other than that, Peikoff is nearly perfect (haha). In addition, Boydstun, you may disagree that 'rational foundation' is as overrated as the concept of 'God.' I'd rather stick to reality than be fooled by anyone to illusively get unstuck from it because everything is learned only in relation to a context (reality). Kant was merely critiquing knowledge but not learning anything new or integrating anything with it. Actually God is not only within Noumenon but also as if shimmering within it because His sight cannot be continuously grasped. See Remark to §86 of Crit#3. This means not only that God is not the only one within Noumenon but also that he is, in a way so conceived, 'beyond' it as if behind its veil. This can be confused with mysticism, but... well, I am not sure what exactly this is other than the term I use: "subjective theology." This concept of God, in Kant, had nothing to do with philosophy as a whole, and this was Kant's great revolution: he separated philosophy from God as the US founding fathers separated state from church. Did Peikoff grasp that? I don't think so. But don't blame Peikoff. Many philosophers today perhaps understand neither Kant's philosophy nor its true accomplishment. Yes, but you need to remember that ancient theists wrapped their philosophy around God in a very different way than Kant did. You earlier stated more properly Kant's negative way concerning God. Pythagoras, Parmenides, Plato, and others (Plotinus too, but I haven't yet studied Pseudo-Dionysus or Alcinous, even though if the latter were a true Platonist, his negativity would be made-believe as much as his positivity) were quite positive about this concept (even while they gave it other names). Kant's break from conceiving of God in this ancient way is thus quite profound. In fact, it's unprecedented because it's not atheistic. Now, what you wrote about those who described God by what God is not seems to be an implicit proof from absence (kind of like Objectivism in Peikoff's DIM) -- not evidence of absence or argument from ignorance. Kant never claimed that any proof of God is possible, only that we should praise reason that leads us to God (means he enjoyed proofs of God but never defended any himself). Thus, Kant differentiated himself from such objective theologists, i.e. theists, who would like to find a proof of God (even in Kant). I would say reduced, inversively. Kant followed this inversive reductionist formula: make the outer world into both the non-world (noumenon) and the inner world (phenomenon) by reducing it through categories of thought. Only the non-world is basically a deeper 'inner world', like an unconscious level several subconscious levels deep. So, basically, the reason we cannot phenomenally sense Noumenon is that it is too far and deep in us from our conscious mind. Thank you for sharing the analogy, dream_weaver. In a way it reflects the process in the movie 21 Grams -- what I consider to be an integrative piece of art. On the other hand, this is not the process employed by David Harriman in The Logical Leap. Instead, Harriman overgeneralizes, waves hands, and thinks that all pieces are used in an integration without being able to prove this (understandably, as this cannot be so). Have you read it? I will need to check it out.
  9. Working my way through Barbara Sher's insightful I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, I encountered the following helpful observation about child-rearing: [F]ew parents realize that pride in a child's accomplishments can be a tricky issue: it implies ownership. You wouldn't walk up to a famous athlete and say, "I'm proud of you." You know he or she isn't yours to be proud of. (84)Sher correctly notes that "your children ... belong to themselves," and suggests a better way of expressing happiness about their achievements: See the title. Yes. My son is only three and it is only potty training. (Finally!) But the time to start cultivating this habit is now, now that I am aware of the issue with this very common expression. -- CAV P.S. And don't get me started on the trendy, too often meaningless, "Good job," which does avoid the problem noted above. I noticed it was way over-used when my daughter wasn't even two, and decided never to use it myself. Indeed, my daughter surprised me one day by jokingly saying "good job" in a patronizing way. That let me know I was right to avoid that particular knee-jerk phrase. Link to Original
  10. Their main influence is transitive -- because they influenced your parents. For example, a person may be a Muslim because his great-great-granddad converted to Islam. For most people, the religion they practice goes back to a choice or a forced change made many generations back. There are more subtle impacts too. For instance, a person living in Cedar Rapids may be influenced mostly by his community; but his great granddad might have been the one who decided to move from Ukraine to America. The person's current existence in America (indeed his existence itself) is a product of that old choice.
  11. I mean comparatively, it (parents) isn't bigger than other factors, so it's not big, but it matters. (See my first reply to SL). But dead relatives you'll never meet? Their impact on you is not greater on you than a dead non-ancestor.
  12. Just because someone professes that they do not find meaning in life doesn't mean that there *isn't any*. They might not even implicitly believe that or act on that premise, even if they profess it. Whatever theories someone has or doesn't have about the meaning of life doesn't change the objective facts about whether such a thing exists or not. Just because for life to have meaning it has to have meaning FOR YOU - doesn't mean it's existence *depends* on you. Just because only people hold things as having meaning doesn't mean that there isn't an objective fact, discoverable in reality, about what does or does not really have meaning. You could simply be mistaken about the issue, thinking it's one way when it's really the other. People can argue that life has no meaning, they can argue it's rational to believe life has no meaning, they can argue that the entire concept is irrational. But their arguments can just be *wrong*. Meaning does *not* presuppose that some person just happens to be holding that something has meaning to or for them. Just because nobody happens to be holding that something is meaningful, doesn't mean that it's just *not* meaningful, it's objective meaning could just not be known.
  13. Or maybe run this theory by his parents, I bet they would have some input
  14. This is a good point (though perhaps not applicable to the OP)... it's really pathological to question whether something is rational *just because you are interested in it*. If you like something, that is positive evidence that it *is* rational, all other things being equal. Pleasure is not the result of sin, it is a result of virtue. It's not a cost, it's an end in itself. If you like something, that is not a signal that you should stop and carefully think about it. The natural inclinations and innate desires in human nature are not rigged against your rational self-interest. There is no original sin in Objectivism. If you have some reason to question whether something is rational or right, then by all means stop and be careful. But *just being interested in something*, just *liking* something, is *not* a reason to question whether it's rational or right.
  15. Why collectivists grow rice and individualists grow wheat “Growing rice requires far greater cooperation: it is labour-intensive and requires complex irrigation systems spanning many different farms. Wheat farming, by contrast, takes about half the workforce and depends on rainfall rather than irrigation, meaning that farmers don’t need to collaborate with their neighbours and can focus on tending their own crops. My gut reaction is this is a red-herring. The automotive industry, as well, the fairly well documented "I, Pencil" shows that many industries are interconnected in the specialization of specific functions and tasks required to bring together the "simple" writing implement, or the more complex assembly of an individual transportation unit. From the standpoint of farming, one aspect disregarded is the implementations of the protection of property rights that make possible the reaping of the harvest after the other safeguards have been implemented to protect the crops from wildebeests that do not recognize the concept of individual rights. While it is interesting that rice developed as an eastern crop while wheat thrived to the west, the interactivity between those growing rice is still a form of voluntary mutual consent. In the case of pencils and automotive parts, the reliance on the particular suppliers is less prone to the 'accidental' geographic provision of irrigation. If this is the case and point of the more "collectivized" approach in growing rice, I can willingly cede it. The fact that the activity of irrigation for such a crop requires long-range planning bodes well for the need of thinkers to orchestrate it. The fact that where rice has been demonstrated to be reared in areas where a more individualistic approach has been found t be conducive to profitable farming of the commodity and that collectivized communities have restricted its importation on this basis is telling. It is here that the genealogy of rice-growing reaches an impasse. Where the conditions required for growing rice were not naturally occurring, the reward for the effort of understanding the causal relationships to a bountiful harvest was amply rewarded. Where the conditions required for growing rice occurred naturally, the more efficient method of production is viewed as an affront to the tribal traditions.
  16. Yesterday
  17. It depends on what one is interested in. Personally, my interest is more about the parents who brought me up, and the parents who brought them up. The biology of it is way less important. If I were to find out I was adopted, I might be curious about the circumstances of my biological parents, but I wouldn't bother investigating or even proactively seeking information.
  18. Given how you blithely and arbitrarily you misconstrue what I say, I highly doubt you actually want to know what I think and really ... I don't care.
  19. It's not misconstrual if your position doesn't make sense. It's normal to say "your argument looks like X, is that what you mean?" If X is not your meaning, it usually means you were unclear. Anyway, I still wanna know how you'd respond to Don's questions.
  20. We agree to disagree. Now please STOP misstating what I say and misquoting me. Actually I would prefer if you simply ignored every post I make here... then you wont be tempted to misconstrue what I say. Can we agree to that? IF you CANNOT stop misconstruing what I say I DEMAND that you refrain from referring to me or what I say AT ALL. This is not acceptable.
  21. I'm afraid you make no sense about suggesting genealogy has no moral weight yet one may have rational reasons to feel pride in their genealogy, SL (meta point: it seems your premises about morality are at issue here, as Epist is getting at). Or do you mean to say there are values that exist besides life that require no rational reasons? Don asked you questions, feel free to answer those. They are the most pertinent. To your point... No, because each value has to be chosen again. The causal link is culture. There are still many links. This is disagreement, SL. Sometimes it makes little sense why someone disagrees, and it feels like common sense. Of course I'd "evade" your conclusion - because I deny your premise.
  22. No. No. You are you, and "You" are not a "moral issue". NO! Factually false. Straw man. If every "link" is wiped out then statistically speaking every family will be "the same" randomly "following no particular traditional pattern" family. Not weird to ask... purposeful evasion, illogic, and denial of common sense often has its roots, psychologically speaking, in emotional reaction of the subconscious.
  23. " Family and the reality of it CAN have deep personal meaning and value " This IS moral weight. " Also in large part, what you are is by Nurture, who you are, what you think, has been formed and shaped by who they are, what they think and feel. " This too. Who you are is a moral issue. " Objectivism is NOT antithetical to Family or the idea that Family can have and provide special Meaning in one's life. " Special meaning is moral weight. Your posts show that genealogy is part of your concept of family and that genealogy matters to some people. That means some people -should- value their genealogy. But no person at all -should- find meaning in it is my claim. " Consider now a family rich in civility and tradition who provided great educational and philosophical instruction, inspired and demanded of their children high standing and achievement and the pattern repeated generation after generation for a statistically significant offspring " This is not genealogy anyway. Each generation has to establish values anew. You can only observe a continuation based on a person believing the people they know personally and culture. That a great grand parent taught your grandparent taught your parent egoism is not to be judged differently than Rand's great grand parent that perhaps taught egoistic ideas. If someone learned to be a racist and lynch black people, that's on them, and only brought on by accepting their culture, not linked to ancestors qua ancestors. The causative link is no different if there is also a genealogical link. Thus, no special meaning exists. " These to families did not become EXACTLY the same after ONE generation. " Each generation is wildly different than the last. No family will be the same. So we judge people as individuals or their values, with no consideration on lineage. If it does affect who I am, even a little (say, 5% of who I choose to be), if you had particularly admirable ancestors, then I can judge some of your moral worth based on your ancestry. But I say 0%. " It's almost as if you take my sense of family and meaning personally? Does it threaten you somehow? " I think you're wrong is all (weird to ask, I'm practically zen about it).
  24. These factually are false statements. As an example consider any family who had systematically indoctrinated their children with religious dogma, and abused them physically and sexually, and the pattern repeated generation after generation for a statistically significant number of offspring... Consider now a family rich in civility and tradition who provided great educational and philosophical instruction, inspired and demanded of their children high standing and achievement and the pattern repeated generation after generation for a statistically significant offspring... These two families did not become EXACTLY the same after ONE generation. There IS a causative link. It is not a 100% deterministic link because there is volition. Some offspring no doubt turned their backs on achievement and some escaped the cycle of violence, but there is a causative link in reality between what happens in each generation. To "blame" or "credit" the patterns of these families as solely due to genes would be fall into the trap of ranking people by their "blood" alone. No, there is much more causatively happening than mere genes. That said, it is factually true that genes do play in role, but how and to what extent exactly, that is for the scientists to determine. As shown above... "wrong". I'm not saying it has "importance". Some people find it has meaning for them others do not. Some people, because of the particular circumstances are affected more by it (people in families with strong traditions etc) than others (people given up for adoption). It's almost as if you take my sense of family and meaning personally? Does it threaten you somehow?
  25. It depends on what precisely you mean by "objective meaning". Do you mean by "objective meaning" that things have meaning independent of the existence of any individual? Also, I am not sure what you mean by "pure" subjectivism. If by subjective, you mean things that are dependent upon the individual and only the individual, some things in reality are subjective. A person, however is not divorced from reality and identity, but as long as that is kept in mind, some things which are subjective can also be purely subjective. Some tastes, likes, dislikes, are correctly characterized as subjective. As for pure subjectivism, I would equate that with a complete denial of everything which is not subjective, i.e. a denial of all things in the universe which are objective, metaphysical, inherent... etc. which would be irrational. I am uncertain that one can "aim" for a meaning or measure oneself against sheer meaning... one can aim to achieve a goal which has meaning for him/her... and one can measure oneself against something in which one finds meaning, yes. Again whether the meaning you find in the goal at which you aim or the something against which you compare yourself is "objective", I would need to better understand what you mean by its being "objective" as against not "objective". BTW: My sense of the word meaning is akin to "personal significance", or "deep personal value" not ... meaning as in definitional or clarification assisting.
  26. So do you hold that there is no objective meaning that we can aim for or measure ourselves against? Isn't that pure subjectivism?
  27. STOP MISQUOTING ME Eioul, JUST STOP IT. I NEVER said anyone "SHOULD"... you just cant arbitrarily LIE about what someone said. STOP IT!!!!! I NEVER said family ancestry "has moral weight". STOP misquoting me! What is WRONG with you? as a MODERATOR you should know better than to MISQUOTE AND LIE ABOUT WHAT OTHER POSTERS STATE!
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