Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

All Activity

This stream auto-updates     

  1. Yesterday
  2. Universals

    Alright here is an example: Suppose we have an apple which is red. Now consider the true statement, "The apple is red." This sentence identifies a fact. It is a true statement about a real thing having a real property, because the apple would still be there and would still be red even if no one was there to look at it. The subject of the sentence is "the apple" and it refers to the apple. Furthermore, the apple is a real thing to which the subject of the sentence refers. The aspect of reality that "the apple" refers to is a particular. And what about the predicate? Surely, if the sentence identifies a fact, then the predicate must also refer to some aspect of reality. The aspect of reality that the predicate "is red" refers to is a universal. Take note of the differences between the particular and the universal. The particular is always the subject of a sentence. Things may be "said of" it, but it may not be "said of" other things. For example, it doesn't make sense to say that "The dog the apple". Furthermore, it exists in exactly one place at any one time. The universal, by contrast, is always the predicate of a sentence. But it may exist identically in multiple situations. For example, it could also be true that "The fire-hydrant is red." I say "exists identically" because when I say that the fire-hydrant is red and that the apple is also red, I am not referring to different kinds of redness or different reds. I mean that both things have the same color. Thus, reality is not a mere assortment of particulars. It is a structure consisting of particulars "connected" to each other by universals (not only properties but also relations are universals, e.g. "The apple is above the table."). Facts are the elements of this structure, and true sentences are true by virtue of correctly representing this structure, that is, by identifying facts. If universals did not exist in this sense, but were merely mental-objects such as concepts, then it would make no sense to say that the statement "The apple is red" is true in a mind-independent way. For if there were no minds, then there would be no "is red".
  3. That's just Harry, not canon Objectivism. He is pretty good (with a few exceptions). The rest of Objectivist Epistemology doesn't exist because Rand did not make a habit of writing textbooks. But Rand relied on logic from Aristotle and his Aristotelian followers so include that. She regarded work on perception as nonessential because of the stolen concept fallacy involved in questioning the essential soundness of the senses which must appeal to the evidence of the senses to establish if a problem exists.
  4. Intro to Objectivist Epistemology

    How We Know by Harry Binswanger (Table of contents). OPAR for a very condensed presentation.
  5. I've read the book a couple of times. So where is the rest of Objectivist epistemology?
  6. Over at Medium, Chris Castiglione decries what he calls "censorship," by the EPA, whose Trump-appointed head has seen that it no longer uses the term "climate change" on its website. Castiglione's grasp of which he pontificates is slippery beyond the obvious point that presidents choose some of their employees: He never questions the conventional wisdom about climate change (né global warming), his grasp of the history of the EPA lacks full context, and he would do well to consider what censorship is, and why it is wrong. Regarding the scientific issue of climate change, even Nature recently published an article admitting that models predicting catastrophic warming were wrong -- not that catastrophic warming would justify the political measures the left touts as a solution, anyway. Similarly, although Castiglione understandably credits the EPA with improving air and water quality over the past few decades, this improvement is largely to whatever degree its regulations mimicked the private property protections that were removed to cause these problems in the first place. And regarding censorship? I'll defer to Ayn Rand: This was said to government employees, not forced onto private citizens. (Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash.)"Censorship" is a term pertaining only to governmental action. No private action is censorship. No private individual or agency can silence a man or suppress a publication; only the government can do so. The freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right not to agree, not to listen and not to finance one's own antagonists. [bold added]The functionaries of the EPA are government employees, not private individuals. I would add that, among the many violations of my individual rights the EPA represents, has been its bullhorning specific answers to and interpretations regarding the scientific questions about climate change, for political purposes. I think Trump should be working on abolishing the EPA, but I'll give one cheer for him ending its improper use of my money to spread views I disagree with. (That said, I think this way of doing it is ham-fisted and looks cowardly. But telling a subordinate employee what he can and cannot say is part of an employer's purview.) As even Castiglione admits, this does not stop him or any other private citizen from continuing his "climate change" advocacy, or from pointing out the existence of the Internet Archive. Whatever you think of him, Trump is not guilty of stopping private citizens from speaking their minds: He has only deprived a vocal political faction of a tax-financed forum for their views. That is not the same thing. In fact, had he done this on principle, it would have been a win for property rights. -- CAV Link to Original
  7. Last week
  8. Almost exactly two years ago, I ran across Derek Lowe's explanation of the government's role in causing high prices for or shortages of some off-patent drugs. A recent story in the New York Times -- about hospitals manufacturing their own drugs -- reminded me of his explanation of how perverse regulatory incentives were distorting this market. Unsurprisingly, and as I hoped he might, the pharma blogger weighed in soon after the Gray Lady: Without government meddling in the economy, cronyism such as his wouldn't be possible. (Image via Wikipedia)... if you're going to start your own generic manufacturing effort, you have to get in line for the FDA to review your application to sell the compound(s). And that's one of the logjams -- one that will not be fixed by jamming another log into it. The article, though, mixes several problems together. You have the not-enough-players-making-cheap-drugs problem (which can happen through several means, regulatory approval not least among them), and you also have the only-one-manufacturer-eat-my-dust problem, which also takes many forms. In some cases of the latter, you have old, off-patent, formerly cheap compounds where one supplier has been granted market exclusivity (and the ability to raise prices and drive everyone else out of the market). How does this happen? Deliberately by design of the FDA: there are incentives to bring older drugs into the modern regulatory framework, and if you do the tests needed, you get a very, very nice reward. Too nice, from my point of view, but that's how the law is written. In other one-manufacturer cases, people have bought up the only supplier of a small drug and then taken it into "restricted distribution", which basically keeps any other potential competitor from running the comparison trials needed to even get in line at the FDA to sell the drug, too. That's the Martin Shkreli playbook (although he's not the only one), and it also takes advantage of FDA regulations about how and why distribution of a drug can be so restricted. Want to change these? Change the law. [emphasis in original]Lowe mentions that eliminating the "logjam" is a high priority of the current head of the FDA, and that is potentially good news in the short term. But I cannot agree more with Lowe's last sentence, although I know I would take it much farther than he would. We must ultimately abolish the FDA, devolving whatever legitimate functions it performs either to legitimate governmental agencies or to non-governmental watchdog groups (depending on whether these are the business of the government) and altogether ending its innovation-killing, health-threatening stranglehold on the drug market. The FDA prevents desperate patients from trying new drugs even when they have nothing to lose, slows down or stops the introduction of even less speculative or cutting-edge drugs, and, as we see again here, threatens the availability of familiar drugs. -- CAV Link to Original
  9. Top 10 Life Tips for the Young You

    Just saw a summary of Jordan Petersen's 12 rules for life: https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/jan/21/jordan-peterson-self-help-author-12-steps-interview (some just for fun, but the first 10 are good advice) Rule 1 Stand up straight with your shoulders back Rule 2 Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping Rule 3 Make friends with people who want the best for you Rule 4 Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today Rule 5 Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them Rule 6 Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world Rule 7 Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient) Rule 8 Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie Rule 9 Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t Rule 10 Be precise in your speech Rule 11 Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding Rule 12 Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street
  10. Universals

    I already said I'm not saying universals don't exist. I know the usage here is non-standard (i.e. Rand's meaning), but you certainly can see what I mean. I keep going to the binding part, because it's the only way I can explain why I don't reject universals. If 1) I point to the world, 2) bind particulars, and 3) the particulars ALL share some feature, this is a universal. The only non-standard part seems to be that I think 2 is epistemic, but that doesn't hurt it. If you don't get what I mean, just ask. Or just expand on how universals work (it might end up that there's a terminological difference but not one of meaning). Make a positive case so I can analyze an alternative.
  11. Universals

    That's the wrong question to ask. If you want me to understand your arguments against the existence of universals, you're going to have to use the word "universals" in its standard sense. Why not read Aristotle, if you really want to know?
  12. A Complex Standard of Value

    True (philosophically speaking), but (psychologically) the way that one does not care is by not "knowing" the higher value of an alternative. This is a psychological perspective in that consciousness has different levels. In Philosophy you either know or don't, you are "conscious of" or you are NOT "conscious of". In psychology, you have a continuum of consciousness, from "sort of" knowing to "fully knowing". As in sleeping (unconscious) to fully awake. When an alcoholic takes the first drink, he loses the ability to know what is enough. A non-alcoholic "knows".
  13. Universals

    You'll have to go deeper than that because "anything" can represent anything. In other words, anything can serve as a symbol. What do you see the role of consciousness as? Objectivism provides a description of consciousness as active and processing that determines universals. Intrinsicisim does not and there is no clarity on how consciousness behaves in an intrinsic model. Is it only like a mirror? As in what "is", gets into consciousness. (things just are) That philosophy/abstractions/universals are in effect "perceptual"? If so how do you explain different perspectives on the same thing? Are different ways of looking at the same thing "out there"? In other words are ways of looking at things "out there"?
  14. Universals

    Why can't they be? I mean, the word seems fine, if it really is fine to say universals bind particulars.
  15. A Complex Standard of Value

    I think everyone knows what is enough. It's really a problem of not caring.
  16. Universals

    I think you are seriously confused. Universals can't "represent" anything. They aren't symbols.
  17. Universals

    Why people disagree varies a lot, and for many possible reasons. One reason might be lying, another might be lack of knowledge, another might be that people can't find out the truth. Intrinsicism might refer to an ethical theory, in which case that would mean something like there is intrinsic goodness in some things without reference to an individual. Rand didn't support this at all. But it also might refer to theories where intrinsic properties exist. Rand didn't show that she rejected this idea, I don't see a reason to say she rejected all intrinsic theories.
  18. Objective Black and White Ideals

    Productiveness is simply acting on rationality. Not much use in BEING rational, if you don't DO anything rational. Reason is our tool for understanding and evaluating the world. Understanding how the world is, and how it should be (what are the circumstances that further one's life). Productivity is making what should be, happen. For a basic example, if you're on a desert island and you are able to figure out that you will need long term shelter, water supply and food supply, to live, productivity is actually getting those things. There is nothing in Objectivism to support this arbitrary claim (that you are making because you misunderstand biology).
  19. Universals

    For now, I am willing to assume that you are correct. Then can you back it up by mentioning what in fact is the fundamental argument against intrinsicism. My understanding is that Rand did not choose it as her model as it did not correspond to reality because it especially falls apart when trying to integrate "intrinsic value".
  20. Universals

    Well, I just mean it's a bad argument, it doesn't show anything about the nature of the disagreement.
  21. Universals

    Are you saying that when people disagree about the beauty of something, it necessarily indicates an error? What happened to the "for whom" and "for what purpose" argument of values? Other than that, what do you consider as being the fundamental argument against intrinsic universals?
  22. Universals

    I didn't say universals don't exist. I said universals represent facts, implying also that facts are about the world. As representations, they are at most epistemic - representations are of the mind. It's a misunderstanding of my words to say I think universals don't exist. I'm fine saying that there are facts about things, and that things can exist identically in terms of value ranges. I don't want to call this a universal, because I'd say universals imply a binding that makes particulars cohere together. If this idea is wrong, I'd like to see how. If that's all you mean, this would be epistemic, no? That's all I'm really saying, and that metaphysical is not clear to convey what you mean. This is not a good argument. Human error does not tell us that intrinsic things don't exist.
  23. Objective Black and White Ideals

    This moves out of the philosophy and into biology. In fact, obliquely, this illustrates the point I made in my post: that one does not starts with some abstract principle and reason one's way to concretes.
  24. Universals

    Doesn't a problem start emerging when one includes value judgements like "beatiful", "important", "terrible", "admirable". If these were intrinsic, and consciousness was not active with individual filters stc., then all should see the same thing. All should be attracted to the same thing. After all the beauty is not in the eyes of the beholder in an intrinsic world, the same beauty is out there for all to see. Then when two people disagree with the beauty of something, how can it be intrinsic?
  25. Objective Black and White Ideals

    First and foremost Ayn Rand lists life as an end in itself. Her argument in The Objectivist Ethics is that: That is, moral principles derive from the nature of Man, because is implies ought. It's not just limited to life, she goes on: So you can derive a list of specific, objective values and ideals by reference to the nature of Man, and what it means to live like a man - and that means all the characteristics of man's nature - not just his survival as a living organism or his rational faculty. Ayn Rand lists seven major virtues in Atlas Shrugged: rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride. Another more specific example like "life", would be one's sex, which means a couple of key things, like living as man or a woman accordingly, and learning to follow the principles of masculinity and femininity. It also means pursuing the ideal of heterosexual marriage and procreation. These are objective moral principles and ideals, guidelines for how to live, and how to give emphasis, optimization, beauty, etc, that follow from important aspects of human nature and identity. These would be like any other aspects of morality, they are not optional, or dependent upon someone's subjective whim, and going against them would be immoral and self-sacrificial.
  26. Universals

    Of course I agree that would would be a contradictory position to hold, if you are also assuming that the only thing that exists are concrete, physical objects extended in space. My claim here goes against that assumption. I am arguing for the metaphysical existence of universals, i.e. existents which are not concrete, physical objects extended in space. You are asserting the opposite position that I am taking. I've made a number of arguments for my position throughout this thread, so please take a look and let me know what you think of them. SpookyKitty seems to be the only one who has clearly understood what I'm saying so far.
  27. Donald Trump

    Now Trump is setting up a special department to police employer's against whom Christians make civil rights complaints. The GOP somehow has this image of being against the government imposing itself on people's decisions, but I think that's mostly because the Democrats use that image as a way to critique the GOP. So, the GOP gets away with wanting the government to be big and intrusive, just because the Democrats want it to go further. Who'd have thought that a basically secular centrist like Trump would end up being the champion of the religious right. Not surprising, ofcourse, because he is pragmatist first and everything else way, way later. For more info on the types of laws this new department will police, with their threats of jail, and guns and violence: https://www.hhs.gov/conscience/conscience-protections/index.html What's next? Trump going gang-busters appointing judges. Probably picking a few idiots like this, if if gets him some votes: http://www.statesman.com/news/crime--law/texas-judge-interrupts-jury-says-god-told-him-defendant-not-guilty/ZRdGbT7xPu7lc6kMMPeWKL/
  1. Load more activity