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  1. Yesterday
  2. Rand insists that existence IS identity, that an entity is its attributes, all of them. There is no place for any form of dualism in Objectivism.
  3. Binswanger is a property dualist, which as far as I know is consistent with Objectivism.
  4. Binswanger himself compiled the Lexicon, here is soul-body dichotomy Rand comprehensively rejects the mind-body dichotomy in ethics and epistemology but somehow Binswanger thinks that leaves space open in ontology for some kind of substance that makes consciousness possible, or which is the essence of consciousness. But if that were true it would be rather impossible reject that dualism in the logically dependent fields of epistemology and ethics. Binswanger can't be understood as an Objectivist philosopher any longer. What more needs to be said?
  5. Grames, I for one, and several others I'm sure would like to read your thinking on dualism - etc. The relationship of dualism to rationalism - and - of reductive materialism to empiricism and skepticism, for that matter. Can I prevail upon you to open a thread?
  6. What is the Objectivist position on the following observations: 1. No thing can come from Nothing. 2. There was no prior time during which there was Nothing and from which (after which) came or arose all of existence. 3. The Universe is and always was, it had no beginning. 4. At every moment the chain of events in causation prior to that moment are the cause of what IS at that moment. 5. At no moment was there an absence of causation for what WAS at that moment, nor an absence of prior events and existents which constitute the causes of that causation. 6. The chain of causative events of the past are to be grasped as extending indefinitely into the past. 7. A chain of causative events extending indefinitely into the past implies an uncountable number of past events exceeding any finite number, since any finite number of events into the past constitutes a causal chain extending only definitely (finitely) into the past. In order to avoid a conclusion that something came from nothing, entities came from no entities, or that time came from no time etc., or that at one time there was not past and no causation; one must embrace a universe which has "forever" existed and has undergone an infinity of causal events in the past. This infinite accounting of events, is vaguely reminiscent of an infinite causal regress, the flawed argument of creation: universe was created by God 1 from nothing, God 1 was created by God 2 perhaps as part of another higher universe, from nothing; ... God X and his universe were created by God X+1 from nothing... in an infinite regress. The main difference between an infinite accounting and an infinite regress is that the causality of disparate events of an everlasting universe, although they are constantly and always "giving birth" to a metaphysically changed universe from what it was a moment ago, the universe has NOT come into existence from nothing nor is it a different universe, nor something of a categorical different order, and there is no "hierarchically separated" structure of creation as would be implied by a nested series of God creations of the infinite regress. What is the Objectivist position on the above, and (notwithstanding my above ruminations) why IS an infinite "regress" worse than an infinite causal chain?
  7. whYNOT

    "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton

    merjet, I think it's always possible to read too many "implications" into e.g. this statement by Rand. It can happen one takes the complicated route and will over-analyze a proposition when all one needs do is take her at face value ("literally"). This is not, I think, to be read from the perspective of an imperative which rules a rational egoist's acts, instead, from the perspective of strong opposition to any who'd sacrifice some to others - at cost to the egoist and non-rational egoist alike, generally. If one were to say to a staunch laissez-faire, anti-statist-welfarist, self-supporting, professional, working individual, who has known financial struggles and knows he is never totally secure from more in future - that it is a moral injustice that a portion of his/her income 'must' be deducted by edict of the state in order to be 'redistributed' to support those who don't or won't think, work and take responsibility for their own values as he has done--he (and you, I'm sure) would readily agree. To add too, that his consent has been removed from even helping those people whom he would prefer to charitably aid by choice, indiscriminately favoring any and all 'others'. He (the moral "actor") is being 'breached' from some of his due earnings/values, to sustain "immoral" "nonactors", and so cannot be the full "beneficiary" of them. That is simply all that Rand opposes, above: "The Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action". This will most often be a financial sacrifice, commonly to the state and the IRS, but there are many more subtle, insidious ways by which altruism separates actor and beneficiary, and not always monetary. (The early part of her statement in isolation, it's interesting, does not distinguish a rational egoist from the broad society: it is for and applies to them all, "the sacrifice of some men to others", whether or not most in society concur with coercive taxation),
  8. If a government says, "OK, now we let you do X", that does not in any way indicate a respect for the right to do X. And it says nothing about whether it will change its mind later. If a government does not respect rights in principle, nothing it does should be regarded as "respecting" rights, and to read current events as evidencing a growth in that nonexistent respect is to profoundly misunderstand those events and their likely consequences. (The same critique applies to hurrahs when America's government announces that it will no longer violate this or that right.)
  9. Patrick, I have a hypothesis about how Dr. Binswanger might answer your question. In HWK (p. 262), he writes: He then gives an example of a deductive derivation, a deductive proof, an inductive derivation, and an inductive proof. (This happens on p. 262-264.) Now, let's try to answer your question: As the above passage makes clear, reduction can be inductive. Reduction is nothing more than walking backwards through the derivation that originally led to the idea. If the derivation was inductive, the reduction or proof will be inductive as well.
  10. Doug Morris

    Reblogged:Two on Kavanaugh

    Anyone we actually get on the Supreme Court is likely to be a mixed bag at best. If we don't get Kavanaugh, what will we get?
  11. Shortly after President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, I came across a couple of analyses of his past record that indicate where he might stand on a couple of key issues. Regarding freedom of speech, Ken White of Popehat concludes: Image via Wikipedia. ... Kavanaugh's work on the D.C. Circuit show a judge strongly protective of free speech rights, and part of the trend of applying free speech doctrines both to classic scenarios and to government regulation. His stance on telecommunications and elections laws will get him painted as part of the "weaponize free speech" movement by results-oriented thinkers. He's strong on First Amendment limits on defamation law and his approach to anti-SLAPP statutes do not, as some have suggested, signal that he wants to make defamation cases easier. But though he might help upset applecarts by applying the First Amendment to regulatory schemes, and will not uphold broad speech restrictions, he will likely not overturn doctrines that make it hard for individuals to recover for speech violations.So far, so good -- for someone nominated by a President who doesn't exactly strike me as friendly towards this crucial right. Kavanaugh's record on abortion isn't exactly extensive, but he has been nominated by a President hostile to women's reproductive rights. Regarding how he might rule in an abortion case, we have the following from The New York Times In a case last fall that drew widespread attention, the appeals court voted to allow an undocumented pregnant 17-year-old in immigration detention to seek an abortion without delay; the Trump administration had wanted to first transfer her to an adult sponsor for guidance. Judge Kavanaugh dissented. He wrote that while the appeals court was bound to obey Supreme Court rulings that said that the Constitution protects a woman's right to choose an abortion, those precedents left room for the government to apply "reasonable regulations that do not impose an undue burden." He maintained that the government was within its bounds to choose a transfer to a sponsor instead of "forcing the minor to make the decision in an isolated detention camp with no support network available." Judge Kavanaugh accused the majority of wrongly inventing "a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand." He said that barred the government from intervening to connect minors with their immigration sponsors before making such a serious life decision. "The majority's decision represents a radical extension of the Supreme Court's abortion jurisprudence," he wrote. [links omitted]The fact that the case covers someone in government custody muddies the waters, but this falls clearly within the debate over the role a parent or guardian should play in whether a minor has an abortion. Kavanaugh's stand here doesn't tell me conclusively that he would vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade, but, given that many conservatives see government intervention with such involvement as a convenient means of interfering with the exercise of that right, this ruling doesn't look good I haven't made up my mind on whether I support or oppose this nominee, but I am concerned about the second issue. -- CAV Link to Original
  12. Doug Morris

    Classical music

    It might also help if we could clarify just which modern music Rand was referring to.
  13. Yeah, but it would be a digression from the topic of the thread to go over Binswanger's dualism and then why dualism is bad. A heuristic was in order, IMHO.
  14. This process has been moving at a snail's pace, but it does appear to be moving. The latest reform is that some property rights will be respected.
  15. Last week
  16. jonathanconway

    Classical music

    Ok... I really have to put in a word for Pierre Boulez. I was confused for a while, because on the one hand, Boulez (and much other modernist music) seemed dazzlingly complex and admirable in its ambitions and scope, from stretching the tonal system to its limit to experimenting with electronics. But on the other hand, I had read parts of Rand's writing (I think it was in the Romantic Manifesto), where she refers to incomprehensible squawks, shrieks, etc of much modern music. In the years since, I've listened more to Boulez, Stockhausen and others, and also heard better and better performances, like this performance of Répons in 2015, and come to the conclusion that this music is really a great achievement (thought I don't claim to yet entirely understand it), and that audiences of the future will appreciate it more and more. How do I square this with Rand's views expressed in the Romantic Manifesto? Simple: she only ever claimed to be a philosopher and novelist. She never claimed to be a musician or a musicologist, in fact, she (quite rightly) left the vast field of philosophy of music to future specialists to discover. So it would be unfair to expect her to have had a sufficiently thorough knowledge of musical theory, history, etc. as to be able to grasp and appreciate the greatness of (some) modern music, especially at a time when it was so nascent and undeveloped, particularly in the performance aspect. She was right to listen to music that both she loved and that was legitimately good music, which I think Rachmanninoff is. One can treat her preferences in music the same way as, say, in food. The best (and I mean, objectively best) chefs of her time might have found her food choices objectionable, but that would have had no bearing on her primary field of focus, which is philosophy and literature. I suppose one could criticise her for expressing any opinions at all on something outside of her primary field, but I think that'd just be nit-picking. What matters is the essence of her philosophy, not details she might have missed out due to lack of knowledge. After all, you could say the same of Aristotle. He was no doubt wrong about many aspects of science / the natural world. But what endures and remains of value - his ideas in metaphysics - is no less an achievement.
  17. jonathanconway

    Classical music

    Couldn't agree more. It looks passive to be just sitting there in the audience, but so much is going in the mind, if you're really listening. Bruckner's (and so many others') music is something that's been with me in so many moments of my life, both difficult and triumphant. Music is really there for me sometimes, in a way that people in my life can't always be (not faulting them for that). Beneath the religious elements, which are certainly there, Bruckner's music for me speaks of the hope of a better world, of a brighter future, and of great passion, conviction and dedication to ideals.
  18. 2046

    "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton

    Suppose we are organizing a baseball team in the old sandlot. As we huddle up, Rodriguez giving instructions says, "Okay guys, the pitcher must throw the ball every play." We all take the field and Ham hits a pop fly to Merjet in right field. He misses it, of course, but runs quickly to retrieve it, then looks at Squints tentatively at second base. "C'mon what are ya waiting for?!" Hmm, he used the singular when he gave instructions, Merjet thinks to himself, unsure of the meaning of the rules. I guess only the pitcher can throw the ball then. He then runs all the way to second from the outfield and hands the ball to Squints. "You're killin' me, Merjet!" Ham exclaims. Seems like, in our ordinary language use, the singular modifies that specific noun. It's used when you want to talk about that one thing. But it doesn't seem like it necessarily excludes other things. In the sandlot example, just because the pitcher throws the ball every play, doesn't mean other players don't get the throw the ball too. They might even throw it every play, like say, the catcher does during a no-hitter. There is no logical necessity tying the two together positively or negatively. We just don't know if it's included or excluded because the singular just modifies that one thing. Another thought experiment: Suppose there are two dishes in the sink: a pot and a plate. My mom says to me "2046, can you put the plate in the dishwasher?" I proceed to put both the plate and the pot in the dishwasher. My mom then exclaims, "No, you dofus, I said the plate not the plate and the pot, don't you listen? That's your grandmother's cast iron skillet and needs to be washed by hand. You don't listen!" In this case, we didn't actually want anything else included in "being in the dishwasher." In the sandlot example, we did want other players included in "throwing the ball" (chopping off "every play" here.) But at the time we were just focusing on one aspect. We didn't know about the others until we looked at the facts of the situation. So when we look at the facts of the situation, which I gave reasons for before, it does seem like sometimes we want others to benefit from our actions as well as us. But the question is also how best to interpret Rand. What this shows is that the singular modifier doesn't necessarily, as I said before, include or exclude others also benefiting. And when we look at all the other context where Rand literally does say "mutual benefit" over and over again, it seems as myopic as Scotty Smalls from The Sandlot to insist otherwise.
  19. Respectfully, I think this is the wrong methodology. When two authors disagree, the right reaction isn't to decide ahead of time that one of them is right and the other is wrong just because of who they are. Instead, I think we ought to study each author carefully until we have a solid grasp of what each respectively is saying, then compare the two positions to determine which has better evidence and arguments in its favor.
  20. Eiuol

    "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton

    You've been asked in several different ways how that quote excludes other people from gaining *any* benefit. You still haven't answered that. Your "literal" interpretation wasn't literal at all. Just because other people are excluded from the subject of a sentence doesn't mean the sentence is saying anything about those excluded people.
  21. whYNOT

    "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton

    There are two relevant sentences, a paragraph apart: "...and that man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions." "The Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action and that man must act for his own *rational* self-interest". Yes, "beneficiary" is singular. Standing for all beneficiaries and all individuals. What of it, and what is it that Rand considered of supreme importance here? This is a high level abstract principle, not a 'how to' guide. I think to carry away the implication that "man" or the individual must never open a door for some frail person, slow down his car to let another driver pull out into the traffic ahead of him--or any action of which he is not the obvious , single "beneficiary"--trivializes what is rational self-interest - and too, what is altruism. I can only see the consequences of this approach, enacted in the many incidents in daily life, heading one into a narrow and self-conflicted irrational and subjective selfishness, when, conversely, the import of Rand is rational egoism's expansiveness and liberation to act for oneself without anxiety and guilt of others' needs and demands. (Context: if one is in a hurry to take one's sick child to hospital, one will and must act according to one's value-hierarchy, disregarding all else). There should be no self-conflict about such temporary, minor matters of considerate assistance to others (without a self-sacrifice of time, etc.), which Rand apparently thought self-evident enough. (Like good manners - or the recognition of others' ends in themselves lives). It would be ludicrous to worry that such actions are 'altruist' or in any way contra-egoistical. Paradox-seeming, at first, the capability to identify/evaluate situations and perform such minor acts for others is, instead, a confident affirmation of one's rational egoism.
  22. merjet

    "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton

    "Carefully read the last sentence of what I quoted from VOS. It says "the beneficiary", which is singular and therefore excludes any beneficiary other than the actor. The part in the quote preceding the last sentence about any breach reinforces that" (link). I strongly disagree with your last sentence. Like I said earlier (link), Rand's statement is about both. It is against any breech (between actor and beneficiary), which is essential to altruism, and advocates no breech, which is essential to egoism.
  23. There are following connections the book makes. 1.) Organizational Ethics and Management. (Basically conveys that the two are same). 2.) Organizational Ethics and Ethics, Objectivist Ethics in particular. 3.) Organizational Ethics and Industrial Sociology 4.) Organizational Ethics and relevant facts. 5.) Objectivist Ethics and relevant facts. 6.) Industrial Sociology and relevant facts. So the reviewer needs to judge following two things a.) Are these connections actually made in the book, to sufficient degree. b.) Are these connections useful to the intended audience described in my previous comment.
  24. OTI was created long ago with the laudable goal of combating a tendency toward rationalism. However, there was not an actual theory of induction within Objectivism during Rand's lifespan (and arguably there still isn't since Objectivism as Rand knew it became a closed system upon her death). So it is a question whether what Peikoff and Rand were doing in OTI is actually induction in the technical philosophical sense. Binwanger is unreliable due to his radical dualism. In any contradiction between Binwanger and Rand or a Peikoff/Rand presentation dump Binswanger. Peikoff and Harriman authored "The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics" which is little more than the claim that the process of concept formation is induction. That doesn't satisfy many people looking for a theory of induction who are not already Objectivists and many who are. Peikoff's lecture course "Art of Thinking" lecture 6 covers "aspects of certainty excised from OPAR for space". The four aspects covered are thinking about the future, thinking in terms of statistics, does present context of knowledge limit certainty, and does certainty imply error is impossible. I wonder how much your line questioning here is motivated by an underlying confusion about certainty, and if that should be your next question.
  25. I asked the question because, after I read the introductory pages you posted, and I got the impression that you had an abstract audience in mind... i.e. people you think may benefit. But, when one writes to that type of target, you cannot tailor your "voice". Writing for an audience that is sympathetic to Rand is different from writing for someone who has a vague idea about Rand. Even when writing to a narrow audience like those sympathetic to Rand, one has to tailor one's material to a purpose. A reader who wants to get information to bolster his arguments is different from one who wants to get something from the book to help him in his own work/life in (say) the next year or two.
  26. Here is the content from first chapter describing the intended audience. ------------------------------------ Specifically, regarding the kind of people who can benefit from this work. For people already applying Objectivism in their work and lives, I think this will deepen their understanding. Directing focus to more social aspects of their work lives also. Ayn Rand fans, who have read mostly her fiction, can get introduced to her ideas in a more structured form. Non-Objectivist intellectuals, even Politicians, Businessmen, and working people in general. Those who are not satisfied with status quo, but besides feeling and concrete instances, at a bigger picture level are unsure about what’s wrong in the work environments they operate in. These people can also benefit. In general, any adult willing to understand the culture he operates in should benefit. ------------------------------------ To summarize, Ayn Rand has rightly been identified as the philosopher of individual. The book shows her ideas can also be used for building collaborative institutions. Not very different from Rearden Steel or rational aspects of Taggart Transcontinental or Roark's office after he built Enright House.
  27. whYNOT

    "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton

    As an aside I recall now, I like this passage from (I think) her book on ethics, by Tara Smith: "As long as egoism is portrayed as materialistic, hedonistic, emotion-driven, or predatory, we can sympathize with those looking elsewhere for guidance". Thanks. Very important what you observe there about "aware and mindful". An individual's mind-full-ness is the central characteristic of Objectivism, I think, from the senses to evaluations to high abstractions. With that expanding knowledge, simply, the more one knows, the more that one finds value and the more one cares about all things. The more, then, that has to be protected by one. These volitional acts and contents of a consciousness equally justify rational egoism, and make it a crucial necessity.
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